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Character of Addington — Composition of the new Cabinet — 
Debates in Parliament — Speech of Lord Auckland — Pitt's 
praise of the new Ministers — Fox's reply — Home Tooke 
excluded from the House of Commons — Battle of Copenhagen 
— Assassination of the Emperor Paul — Dissolution of the 
Armed Neutrality — Battle of Alexandria — Death of Sir 
Ralph Abercromby — Negotiations for peace — Pitt's pe- 
cuniary embarrassments — Contributions of his friends — 
Sale of Holwood — Preliminaries of Peace — Conduct of Pitt 
in the negotiations — Ratification of the Preliminary Articles 
— Fox's speech at the Shakespeare 1 



Opening of Parliament — Debates on the Peace — Abbot elected 
Speaker — Cabinet office declined by Grey — Overtures of 
Erskine — Temporary estrangement between Pitt and Ad- 
dington — Negotiation at Amiens — Treaty concluded — The 
Budgets — Vote of thanks to Pitt — Dinner in celebration of 
his birthday — ' The Pilot that weathered the Storm ' — 
Dissolution of Parliament — General Election — Popularity 
of the Peace — Lord Castlereagh President of the Board 
of Control— Death of Barre — Fox and Erskine at Paris — 
Pit at Walmer — His illness — Visited by Canning and 
Grenville 33 



French annexations — Want of confidence in Addington's ad- 
ministration — Conspiracy of Colonel Despard — Letter from 
the Duke of Orleans — Pitt's residence at Bath — His po- 


litical visitors — l'iti advises naval and military preparations 
— Scheme for reinstating him in office — Discountenanced 
by him — He declines to give further advice to Ministers — 
opening of the New Parliament — Great speeches of She- 
ridan and Canning — Pitt on the state of the count ly — Pitt 
assailed in the Times — The Budget — Elevation of Duttdas 
tn the Peerage — Lord Castlereagh at Bath— Pitt returns to 
London— His interview with Addington ('>:; 



Pitt relinquishes for a time his attendance in t he House of 
Commons — His conference witli Rose — Correspondence with 
Lord Chatham — Prince of Wales's Debts — Dissensions with 
France — Interview of Lord Whitworth with the First Con- 
sul — Trial of Peltier — Expose" to the Corps Legislatif- — 
Armaments in France and Holland — Energetic measures of 
the British Ministry- Public anxiety fur Pitts return to 
office — Proposal conveyed to him bj r Lord Melville — Sub- 
sequent overtures from Addington — Death of the Dowager- 
Countess of Chatham . ...... 94 


Interview between Pitt and Addington — Pitt's proposals ne- 
gatived by the Cabinet — The King's displeasure with Pitt 
—Comments of Fox — Review of the negotiation — Ultl- 
vuitiuii of the British Government rejected by the First 
Consul — War with France declared — Pitt resumes his at- 
tendance in the House of Commons — Great Speeches of 
Pitt and Fox — Proposed mediation of Russia — Tierney ap- 
pointed Treasurer of the Navy— Proposed votes of censure 
— Canning's satirical poems — The Budget Charles Yorke's 
plan for the defence of the country - The Military Service 
Bill— The Property Duty Bill The Volunteers Renewed 
conspiracies in Ireland Murder of Lord Kilwarden . US 



Occupation of Hanover by the French Preparations of the 
First Consul for invading England — M. Thiers "s account of 
the terror inspired by them — The Volunteers — Pitt's Cinque 
Port Regiment — State of his health- Reminiscences of his 
conversation Lady Hester Stanhope Pitt's tour of in- 
spection — Controversy carried on in pamphlets— Conduct 



of Government respecting the defence of the country — 
Pitt's gun-boats — Grand Volunteer Reviews in Hyde Park 
— Ministerial changes, and Parliamentary Recruits — Pitt's 
speech on the Volunteers — Volunteer Exemption Bill — 
State of the Navy 152 



Lord Grenville's proposed junction with Fox — Declined by 
Pitt — Party pamphlets — Illness of the King — Pitt's con- 
fidential conversation with Lord Malmesbury — Proposed 
adjournment of the House of Commons — Pitt's speech on 
the Constitutional doctrine — Volunteer Consolidation Bill 
— Errors of Government in the Military and Naval systems 
— Pitt's Motion on the State of the Navy — Interview be- 
tween Pitt and Lord Eldon — Deaths of Lord Camelford and 
LordAlvanley — Lord Moiraat Edinburgh — Correspondence 
of Pitt with Lord Melville — Votes in both Houses of Par- 
liament — Resignation of Ministers — The King applies to 
Pitt 181 



Pitt's views respecting a new administration transmitted to 
the King — His Majesty's letter to Pitt — Pitt's reply — His 
interview with the King — Pitt undertakes the formation 
of a new Government, excluding Fox — Communications to 
other party chiefs — Fox's generous course — Lord Grenville's 
negative answer — Pitt receives the Seals — The new Cabinet 
— Other changes of office— Precarious state of the King's 
health 221 



Charge against Messrs. Drake and Spencer Smith — Execution 
of the Duke d'Enghien— The First Consul proclaimed Em- 
peror of the French — Pitt's projected Continental alliances 
— Overtures of Mr. Livingston — Pitt's Memorandum — Wil- 
berforce's renewed motion on the Slave Trade— Proclama- 
tion prohibiting the Trade in the conquered Colonies — ■ 
Pitt's Additional Force Bill — Vote of Credit — Pitt's mea- 
sures of Defence — Criticisms of Lord Grenville and Fox — 
Napoleon's plan of Invasion — The Catamarans — Successful 
operations of the British out of Europe — Battles of Assye 
and Argaum— War with Spain — Seizure of the Treasure 

vol. in. a 



Ships — Pitt's notes on the War, Germany, and Napoleon — 
Attempted reconciliation between the King and the Prince 
of Wales— Case of Lord Auckland 246 



Resignation of Lord Harrowby — Reconciliation between Pitt 
and Addington — Comments of Lord Camden and Bishop 
Tomline — Lord Mulgrave appointed Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs — Canning proposes to retire — Addington becomes 
President of the Council and Viscount Sidmouth — Letter 
from Napoleon to George the Third- Deaths of Lord 
Loughborough and of Archbishop Moore — Application from 
Bishop Pelham — Parliamentary debates — Establishment for 
the Princess Charlotte— Pitt's last Budget . . .277 



Naval administration of Lord Melville— Tenth Report of the 
Commissioners of Naval Inquiry— Ministerial differences — 
\\ hitbread's Resolutions — Resignation of Lord Melville — 
Succeeded by Sir Charles Middleton — Discussions between 
Pitt and Lord Sidmouth — The King supports Pitt — The 
Tenth Report referred to a Select Committee — Lord Mel- 
ville removed from the Privy Council — Revival of the Roman 
Catholic claims — Speeches of Grattan and Pitt — Diplomatic 
negotiations— Arrival of M. de Novosiltzoff in London — 
Treaty between Russia and England- Lord Melville im- 
peached — Rejection of Whitbread's motion against Pitt — 
Final resignation of Lords Sidmouth and Buckinghamshire 
— Ministerial arrangements— The King's decay of sight . 304 



Napoleon crowned King of Italy — Annexation of Genoa to 
France — Grant of Lucca to the Princess Elisa — Third Coali- 
tion — Villeneuve pursued by Nelson — Action between Ville- 
neuve and Calder — Villeneuve proceeds to Cadiz — Resent- 
ment of Napoleon — War waged by him against the Austrians 
—Nelson at Merton — Appointed to command the Fleet 
destined for Cadiz— Takes leave of Pitt — Arrival of Sir 
Arthur Wellesley from India — Pitt's fruitless representations 
to the King — His last interview with Lord Sidmouth — 
Projected expedition to the north of Germany — Surrender 
of Mack at Ulm— Its effect upon Pitt— Battle of Trafalgar, 



and death of Nelson — Pitt's last speech in public — The 
Duke of Wellington's description of him at this period — 
Notes of Lords Fitzharris and Eldon . . . .341 



Mission of Lord Harrowby to Berlin — Pitt at Bath — His 
criticism upon Loid Mulgrave's and Mr. Canning's Poems 
on the Victory of Trafalgar — Napoleon in Vienna — Battle 
of Austerlitz — Treaty of Presburg — Effect of the intelli- 
gence on Pitt — Anxiety of his friends — His illness at Putney 
— His last letter —His interview with Lord Wellesley, and 
his opinion of Sir Arthur — Notes of the Hon. James Hamil- 
ton Stanhope — Narrative of the Bishop of Lincoln — Death 
of Pitt 367 



Embarrassment of Ministers — Meeting of Parliament — Effect 
of the intelligence of Pitt's death — New administration 
formed — Votes in the House of Commons— Parliamentary 
grant for the payment of Pitt's debts — Pensions to his 
nieces— His public funeral — Statues and portraits — Pitt's 
character — His religious principles — Goodness to the poor 
— Neglect of Literature and the Fine Arts — Skill in classical 
versions — As a public speaker — As Minister of the Finances 
— His conduct of the war — Conclusion .... 394 

Appendix. — Letters and Extracts of Letters from King George 
the Third to Mr. Pitt 425 

Index 447 


Fac-simile of Mr. Pitt's Writing. 







Character of Addington — Composition of the new Cabinet — Debates 
in Parliament — Speech of Lord Auckland — Pitt's praise of the 
new Ministers — Fox's reply — Home Tooke excluded from the 
House of Commons — Battle of Copenhagen — Assassination of the 
Emperor Paul — Dissolution of the Armed Neutrality — Battle of 
Alexandria — Death of Sir Ralph Abercromby — Negotiations for 
peace — Pitt's pecuniary embarrassments — Contributions of his 
friends — Sale of Holwood — Preliminaries of Peace — Conduct of 
Pitt in the negotiations — Ratification of the Preliminary Articles 
— Fox's speech at the Shakespeare. 

Henry Addington, the new Prime Minister, was older 
than Pitt by two years, and survived him no less than 
thirty-eight, dying in 1844. During the whole of this 
long career he was most justly esteemed and beloved in 
all the relations of private life. I had myself the 
honour of his acquaintance for a part of this latter 
period, and could bear witness to his benignity of coun- 
tenance and suavity of manner — to the kindness with 
which in his serene and revered old age he would wel- 
come even a very young man, and allow him a share of 
his instructive conversation, rich with the memories of 



a loftier time. For eleven years he occupied the 
Chair of the House of Commons, to better public ad- 
vantage than any Speaker since Onslow. For almost 
as long a period in Lord Liverpool's administration he 
held the Seals of Secretary of State for the Home 
Department with vigilance, good judgment, and success. 
If as Prime Minister he fell far short of the Royal 
expectations and of the public exigency, let it in justice 
to him be remembered how arduous and how full of 
peril were those times. If now in the due estimation of 
his character there be found some lack both of oratorical 
distinction and first-rate political ability, let us not 
forget with what pre-eminent men it was his lot to be 
compared. How few, how very few, have there been 
from the earliest ages of the world who coidd sustain a 
parallel with Pitt as a statesman, or with Pitt and Fox 
as debaters ! 

No sooner, in February, 1801, had Addington re- 
sponded to the call of George the Third, than angry 
suspicions against him arose in some of Pitt's friends. 
Mr. Rose thought that he had snatched the government 
too eagerly. The Bishop of Lincoln thought that he 
had attained it by an underhand intrigue. 1 Both were 
of opinion that his regard for Mr. Pitt was not real, but 
pretended. For my part, I am convinced that those 
charges were quite unfounded. Addington appears to 
me to have acted throughout as a man of integrity and 
honour. I believe also that the friendship between him 
and Pitt was then, and for many months afterwards, on 
both sides unbroken and sincere. 

In the new Ministerial appointments Addington ap- 
pears to have greatly consulted the personal tastes and 
leanings of the King. His Majesty was in consequence 
delighted with his new Prime Minister, and often applied 
to him endearing epithets, as ' my Chancellor of the 
Exchequer' — 'my own Chancellor of the Exchequer.' 

1 Sec especially two passages in Mr. Rose's Diaries, vol. i. p. 300 
and 317. 


Here, in proof, is a note on the completion of the first 

The King to Mr. Addington. 

Sunday Evening, March 15, 1801. 
His Majesty has received the box containing the new 
appointments of Postmaster, as also that of joint Paymaster. 
The King cannot find words sufficiently expressive of His 
Majesty's cordial approbation of the whole arrangements 
which his own Chancellor of the Exchequer has wisely and, 
His Majesty chooses to add, most correctly recommended. 

George K. 

A few weeks afterwards the King further manifested 
his entire satisfaction with his Minister by granting, as 
he recommended, a large promotion in the Peerage. 
Five Barons — namely, Lords Craven, Onslow, Eomney, 
Pelham, and Grey de Wilton — were created Earls, three 
with the same titles, but Pelham as Earl of Chichester, 
and Grey as Earl of Wilton. 

But while the King thus showed his entire approval 
of the new Prime Minister, he was well aware how much 
he must depend on the assistance of the former. It is 
recorded of His Majesty, that in one of his Levees this 
spring he drew Mr. Pitt and Mr. Addington aside into a 
recess of one of the windows : ' If we three,' he said, 
' do but keep together, all will go well.' ' 

The Cabinet as Mr. Addington formed it consisted of 
nine persons. There were five Peers — namely, Lord 
Eldon, Lord Chatham, Lord Westmoreland, the Duke of 
Portland, and Lord St. Vincent as First Lord of the 
Admiralty. There were four Commoners, all except 
Addington himself the eldest sons of Earls — namely, 
Lord Hobart, Lord Lewisham, and Lord Hawkesbury, 
who was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Lord 
Hardwicke was named Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with 
Mr. Charles Abbot for Secretary. 

In the Law departments, at least, if not in those of 

1 Life of Lord Sidmouth, by Dean Pellew, vol. i. p. 331. 

w 2 


State, Addington obtained a most brilliant accession to 
his ranks. In the place of Lord Eldon, Sir Richard 
Pepper Arden had been named Chief Justice of the 
Common Pleas, with the title of Lord Alvanley. Thus 
the Mastership of the Rolls became vacant, and to this 
Sir William Grant was appointed. Two younger men, 
of the highest promise, Mr. Law and the Hon. Spencer 
Perceval, became respectively Attorney and Solicitor 

A little later there was a slight change in some of 
these arrangements. Lord Cornwallis having resigned 
the Ordnance, it was given to Lord Chatham, while the 
Duke of Portland was transferred to the Presidency of 
the Council. Thus room was made for Thomas Pelham, 
now Lord Pelham, who became Secretary of State for 
the Home Department. 

I ought also to point out that the members of the 
new administration, out of the Cabinet at least, were by 
no means all opponents of the Eoman Catholic claims. 
Take the case of the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 
We learn from his secretary, that Lord Hardwicke con- 
sented to take office on the public ground required of 
him, ' namely, that he was against now agitating the 
question, reserving himself for other times and circum- 
stances upon the principle.' l This was exactly the 
ground which Mr. Pitt would have taken after the 
King's illness. 

It may be observed that the name of Lord Lough- 
borough was not in the new Cabinet list. Addington, 
as we have seen, desired to make him President of the 
Council, but, for some reason not explained, the appoint- 
ment never took place. The omission of his name may 
be most probably ascribed to the accurate knowledge of 
his character which the King had recently acquired. 
Lord Loughborough was in deep chagrin. Once or 
twice he went to the meetings of the new Cabinet unin- 
vited; and it required a very explicit letter from Ad- 

1 Diary of Mr. Abbot, February 20, 1801. 


dington before he would surrender the Cabinet key. 1 
His Lordship was but little consoled by his promotion 
in the peerage as Earl of Kosslyn, with remainder to 
his nephew. He retired to a villa near Windsor, where, 
in ignorance of the King's sentiments towards him,, he 
applied himself to cultivate the King's favour, and be- 
came a constant dangler at the Court. 

No sooner had the new Government been constituted 
than there was a field-day upon it in both Houses. In 
both the form was the same — for a " Committee of the 
whole House on the State of the Nation. On the 20th 
of March this was moved by the Earl of Darnley in the 
Peers. Lord Grrenville, amongst others, defended the 
late Ministers, and Lord Westmoreland the new ; though 
both equally concurred in deprecating the motion then 
before them. ' A review of the whole conduct of the 
war,' said, on the other hand, Lord Carnarvon, ' affords 
ample matter for necessary inquiry. Above three hun- 
dred millions have been expended in a war of only nine 
years.' In like manner Lord Lansdowne inveighed 
against the entire scope and object of the war, not per- 
haps without some of those nice subtleties, those fine- 
drawn distinctions, which, in a parody of his Lordship's 
speeches, the ' Political Eclogues ' had once so happily 

A Noble Duke affirms I like his plan ; 

I never did, my Lords I I never can ! 

Plain words, thank Heaven, are always understood : 

I could approve, I said— but not I would. 

There were several other speeches on Lord Darnley's 
motion previous to the division, which gave, including 
proxies, 28 votes for the motion, and 115 against it. 
But of all the speeches that evening, Lord Auckland's 
excited by far the most attention. He began by paying- 
some high compliments to Mr. Pitt, and he referred to 
the long friendship between them. Then he came to 

1 The letter of Addington, dated April 25, 1801, has been pub- 
lished by Lord Campbell (Lives of the Chancellors, vol. vi. p. 327). 



(he recent resignations: ' And here, my Lords,' he said, 
4 I am brought to a dilemma. On the one hand I can- 
not discover a sufficient cause for the unhappy resigna- 
tions which took place in a moment of accumulating 
difficulties. On the other it is impossible that men of 
high spirit and of such fair and well-founded ambition 
could for a moment be affected by a desire to have less 
fatigue or less responsibility. It is not in human nature 
or in history that Generals inured to great actions, and 
born to achieve them, can without motives of good and 
superior import get into their post-chaise and quit their 
army in the time of action. I am obliged, then, to 
have recourse to the words of a Noble Earl (Carlisle), 
and to say that there is in this business a mystery and 
something difficult for one man to explain to another. 
There is a veil through which the eye cannot penetrate. 
Time and circumstances may remove that veil ; it can- 
not be drawn aside by the Committee which the present 
motion seeks to establish.' 

It might have been desirable that Lord Grenville,as 
the leader of the late administration in the House of 
Peers, should rise in reply to this ' dear and intimate 
friend.' But he had already spoken twice, and was 
obliged to remain silent. In his place, Lord Spencer 
with spirit, though in few words, and as some bystanders 
thought, too gently, answered Lord Auckland, and denied 
his imputation. 

That imputation, however, provoked the utmost 
resentment and surprise amongst all Pitt's trends : 
i Lord Auckland,' writes Lord Malmesbury, 4 has re- 
ceived from Pitt obligations that no Minister but one 
possessing the power of Pitt could bestow, or any one 
less eager for office than Lord Auckland ask. Yet scarce 
has he left office than Lord Auckland insinuates that 
he did it from some concealed motive, and that the 
ostensible one is insincere ! ' 

Mr. Rose was by no means less indignant, as a letter 
from him the next morning showed : — 


Mr. Rose to Lord Auckland. 

Saturday Evening, March 21. 
My Lord, — The account I have had this day of what fell 
from your Lordship in the House of Lords last night must 
interrupt the intercourse I have had with your Lordship dur- 
ing the last fourteen or fifteen years. Ever since I have 
mixed in public matters, I have thought it possible that 
persons taking different lines in politics (separated very 
widely indeed on subjects of that sort) might mix pleasantly 
in private society, at least occasionally ; but there are cir- 
cumstances in the present case of so peculiar a nature as to 
render that impossible with respect to your Lordship and 
me. It would be as painful to me to enter upon these as I 
thiuk it woidd be to you to have them even more directly 
alluded to. You will, of course, not take the trouble of call- 
ing on me for the papers we talked about this morning. 

I am, my Lord, &c>, George Rose. 

Pitt himself viewed the affair in nearly the same 
light. He was too proud to make any complaint. But 
he broke off all intercourse with Lord Auckland ; and 
as I believe, never again exchanged a word with him. 

A debate corresponding to that of the Lords took 
place in the Commons on the 25th of the same month. 
Grey, who moved for the Committee, made a long and 
able speech, censuring on several grounds of charge the 
whole course of the late administration. Dundas, who 
followed, and who also spoke with much ability, replied 
to him point by point. After several other speakers, 
Pitt rose. He did not dissemble or deny the regret with 
which he had quitted office before concluding peace. 
' I pretend to no such philosophy,' he said, ' to no such 
indifference to the opinion of others as some persons 
choose to affect. I am not indifferent to the circum- 
stances of this country. I am not indifferent to the 
opinion which the public may entertain of the share — 
the too large share, which I have taken in them. On 
the contrary, I confess that these topics have occupied 
my attention much. Events have happened which 




disappointed my warmest wisbes and frustrated the most 
favourite hopes of my heart ; for I could have desired 
to pursue the objects of such hopes and wishes to the 
end of tbat struggle which I had worked for with anxiety 
and care.' 

Pitt then proceeded to express in strong terms his 
entire confidence in his successors. ' Are these gentle- 
men,' he asked, ' called to a situation that is new to 
them? Yes; but are they new to the public? Not 
so ; for they are not only not new to the House and the 
public, but they are not new to the love and esteem of 
the House and the public, and that from sufficient 
experience as to their principles and talents.' 

But not satisfied with this general praise, Pitt singled 
out several of the Ministers for especial commendation. 
' Again, I will say that if I see a Noble Lord (Hawkes- 
bury) called to the situation of a Secretary of State, I 
am ready to ask, without the fear of receiving any 
answer that would disappoint me, whether gentlemen 
on the other side know any man who is superior to that 
Noble Lord. ... I will put it to their modesty whether 
any one amongst them except one Hon. Gentleman 
(Mr. Fox), whose attendance was of late so rare that he 
might almost be considered as a new Member— whose 
transcendent talents indeed make him an exception to 
almost any rule in everything that required uncommon 
powers, but whose conduct was also what ought generally 
speaking to be an exception also to the rules that guide 
the affairs of this country ; which conduct has been at 
variance in some respects from that of almost every 
other public man, and which conduct, if followed, must 
have been highly injurious to the true interest of this 
country : — I repeat it, I know of no one on the opposite 
side of the House, except the Hon. Gentleman, that is 
more than equal to my Noble Friend in capacity for 

Pitt next adverted with high praise to Lord Eldon 
and to Lord *St. Vincent — the one destined in a signal 


manner to fulfil and the other to falsify his favourable 
anticipations. In another part of the same compre- 
hensive speech he discussed at length the cause of his 
recent resignation and the claims of the Roman Catho- 
lics. As to the latter he observed : ' I will say only at 
present, that as to anything which I and my colleagues 
meditated to bring forward, I disclaim the very words 
in common use, " the emancipation of the Catholics," or 
" Catholic emancipation." I have never understood 
that subject so ; I never understood the situation of the 
Catholics to be such ; I do not now understand the 
situation of the Catholics to be such as that any relief 
from it could be correctly so described ; but I think the 
few remaining benefits of which they have not yet 
participated might have been added safely to the many 
benefits which have been so bounteously conferred on 
them in the course of the present reign.' 

Again, without any express reference to the debate 
in the other House, Pitt haughtily cast back the charge 
which Lord Auckland had implied : ' I would observe 
that I have lived to very little purpose for the last 
seventeen years of my life if it is necessary for me to 
say that I have not quitted my situation in order to 
shrink from its difficulties ; for in the whole of that 
time I have acted, whether well or ill it is not for me to 
say, but certainly in a manner that had no resemblance 
to shrinking from difficulty. I may even say this : — 
if I were to strike the seventeen years out of the ac- 
count, and refer only to what has taken place within 
the last two months, I will venture to allege that enough 
has happened within that time to wipe off the idea of 
my being disposed to shrink from difficulty, or wishing 
to get rid of any responsibility. What has happened 
within that period has afforded me an opportunity of 
showing, in a particular manner, that I was willing to 
be responsible to any extent which my situation cast 
upon me.' 

When Pitt had sat down Fox sprang iip. In his 


opening sentence he most felicitously turned in his own 
favour the expression which Pitt had pointed against 
him. ' Sir, late as the hour is, I shall beg leave, even 
under the designation of " a new Member," with which 
the Right Hon. gentleman has complimented me, to 
avail myself of the indulgence which the House usually 
shows to a person of that description.' . With great 
vigour he then proceeded to arraign the entire conduct 
of the late administration, and to controvert all the 
arguments of Pitt. 

' Now, Sir, I come to the consideration of the late 
change of administration. ... As to the mere change, 
it is true that no change can be for the worse ; for I 
defy the Evil Grenius of the country to pick out an 
equal number of men from any part of England whose 
measures could in the same space of time reduce the 
country to a more deplorable state than that in which 
the retired ministers have left it. But was there no 
alternative for the country between them and their exact 
successors? . . . . The late Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
not perhaps quite freely from redundancy, has blended 
with his panegyric of the Right Hon. gentleman over 
against me (Mr. Addington) a gaudy picture of the 
importance of the Chair which you, Sir, occupy. . . . 
A man, however, may be an excellent Chairman of this 
House, as the late Speaker undoubtedly was, without 
being exactly qualified for the office of Chancellor of the 
Exchequer. At the present moment this is all that I 
think it necessary to say with regard to the respectable 
gentleman whom you, Sir, have succeeded. 

' The next in point of importance, both of office and 
character, is the Noble Lord upon the opposite bench 
(Lord Hawkesbury), who has richly shared those florid 
praises which the Right Hon. gentleman has poured so 
fluently upon the whole body of his successors. I assure 
the Noble Lord that I have as much respect for him as 
I can have for any person of whom I personally know so 
little. He has been, it is true, a member of this House 

1801 FOX'S KEPLY. 11 

for many years, and, I doubt not, a very diligent 
member ; but if you had polled the country, not an in- 
dividual could be found in it less happily selected for the 
peculiar department he occupies than the Noble Lord : 
■ — the Noble Lord who, in whatever else he may surpass 
them, does not yield to any one of those whom he 
officially succeeds in the virulence of his obloquies upon 
the French Revolution ; who has spent as many hours 
in this House as any member of the late or present 
ministry in showing the irredeemable infamy of treating 
with that " republic of regicides and assassins." Never, 
surely, was there a worse calculated proposer of peace 
to Paris than the very Noble Lord who was for cutting 
the matter quite short and marching off-hand to that 

After Fox, Addington rose. It was the first time of 
his addressing the House as Minister. In a few sentences 
he summed up the previous debate with propriety and 
without discredit ; and the House then dividing, showed 
only 105 votes for the motion, and 291 against it. 

I have dwelt the longer on these two debates in the 
Lords and Commons, since it may be said that with 
them for the time all systematic opposition to the new 
administration ended. Mr. Pitt continued to give it his 
support ; Mr. Fox perceived that he should gain nothing 
by any attempt to overthrow it. The necessary measures 
of finance had been adjusted by Pitt before his retire- 
ment ; and all the other measures — as one to extend 
the duration of the Martial Law Bill in Ireland — passed, 
not indeed without objection, but without difficulty. 

The main question which at this time engaged- the 
attention of the Legislature was, or should have been, 
of a judicial rather than of a party character. In the 
month of February Mr. Home Tooke had been returned 
a Member of Parliament for the borough of Old Sarum. 
This was by the influence of the second Lord Camelford, 
a most eccentric man both in private and in public life. 
In the last he had not only opposed the Government, of 


which his cousin Mr. Pitt and his brother-in-law Lord 
(irenville were the chiefs, but he had joined the ex- 
tremest rank of their opponents, and it was from these 
that Home Tooke was on a vacancy selected. 

Here, however, a question of right or of law arose. 
Home Tooke had once taken Priest's Orders — was it in 
his power to renounce them ; and if not, could he sit in 
the House of Commons ? The eldest son of the Marquis 
of Buckingham, Earl Temple, took the lead against his 
cousin's nominee. Home Tooke himself spoke several 
times both on his own case and on other subjects. He 
observed that he had cast aside all clerical functions 
thirty years ago. 4 And is,' he asked, ' a quarantine of 
thirty years not a sufficient guard against the infection 
of my original character?' 

In his several speeches this no longer Reverend gen- 
tleman was listened to with profound silence and atten- 
tion. But he by no means fulfilled the expectations 
which his abilities had raised. It was unfortunate for 
his fame that in feeble health and at the age of sixty-four 
he should have consented to appear upon this new and 
untried scene. Such broad jests and repartees as had 
delighted the Hustings fell flat upon the House. Nor 
was he self-possessed and able to do j ustice to his powers. 
' I hardly knew,' he said afterwards, ' whether I stood 
on my head or my heels.' From the scope of some of 
his remarks, the former might perhaps be presumed. 

The plan proposed by Lord Temple was very sum- 
mary — to move at once a new writ for Old Sarum. But 
Addington said that he should prefer a legislative mea- 
sure. On the other hand, Fox, Erskine, and Grey, and 
their new confederate in the other House, Lord Thurlow, 
spoke strongly in favour of the eligibility of priests. 
Their arguments did not prevail, and a Bill was carried 
through by a large majority, delaring that persons in 
Holy Orders were not entitled to sit in the House of 

In consequence of this Act Home Tooke for the re- 


mainder of his life (he died in 181 2) returned to his villa 
at Wimbledon, and to the enjoyment of literary leisure. 
But in 1802 he found an opportunity in addressing the 
electors of Westminster to refer with a most bitter taunt 
to the proceedings against himself. ' I acknowledge it,' 
he said, ' to be an act of mercy in my old electioneering 
comrade, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who 
brought in the Bill ; for if instead of this exclusion he 
had proposed to hang me immediately in the lobby, he 
or any other Chancellor of the Exchequer would have 
been followed by the same majority.' 1 

The new Ministers, as we have seen, had been ap- 
pointed in March, 1801. Within a very few weeks they 
were cheered by good news from several parts of the 
Continent. An expedition to the Baltic, prepared by 
their predecessors, was on the point of sailing. It con- 
sisted of eighteen sail of the line, and the Board of 
Admiralty had appointed Sir Hyde Parker as its chief; 
a most unwise concession to the claim of seniority, since 
Lord Nelson was now the second in command. When 
Nelson joined the fleet at Yarmouth, he found the 
Admiral ' a little nervous about dark nights and fields 
of ice.' — ' But we must brace up,' said he ; ' these are 
not times for nervous systems.' 

The nervous system of Sir Hyde Parker was still 
more sorely tried on the memorable 2nd of April, when 
Nelson, at the head of the first division of ships, most 
intrepidly assailed the batteries and the fleet at Copen- 
hagen. He was still contending hand to hand with the 
gallant Danes when the signal Number Thirty-Nine, to 
' leave off action,' was hoisted in the distance by his 
faltering chief. At all risks to himself, and intent only 
on the public object, Nelson resolved to persevere. 

* Leave off action ! ' he cried ; 'now d me if I do ! 

You know, Foley ' — and here he turned to his Captain 
— ' I have only one eye ; I have a right to be blind 
sometimes ;' and then, putting the glass up to his blind 

1 Life of Home TooJte, by A. Stephens, vol. ii. p. 263. 




eye, he added bitterly, ' I really do not see the signal !' 

Presently he explained, ' D the signal ! Keep mine 

for closer battle flying ! That's the way I answer such 
signals ! Nail mine to the mast.' ' The result was one 
of the most splendid naval victories that even the British 
annals can boast. We gained by it everything that we 
desired. Nelson going on shore the day but one after, 
concluded with the Prince Royal an armistice, according 
to which Denmark suspended, or in fact relinquished, 
her accession to the confederacy formed against us — the 
alliance of the Armed Neutrality. 

It might be curious to compare on this occasion the 
private letters addressed to the First Lord of the Admi- 
ralty by the two commanders ; Admiral Parker perhaps 
alleging that, according to the ' rules laid down by the 
best writers,' and ' on a consideration of all circum- 
stances, local as well as others,' the battle ought not 
to have been fought ; Nelson asking pardon as best he 
might for his glorious disobedience. The issue with any 
Ministers in England could not be doubtful. Nelson was 
raised a step in the peerage as a Viscount, and Parker 
was recalled. 

At Petersburg a similar result was brought about 1 >y 
a wholly different train of events. There the mental 
aberration of the Emperor Paul had become more and 
more painfully apparent. His capricious freaks of des- 
potism, suddenly decided on, and as suddenly revoked, 
threatened ruin to his empire, and kept in constant 
peril every one around him. Perhaps his real state at 
this time may best be shown in a caricature of him 
which was secretly circulated: on the paper in his 
right hand is inscribed Order ; on the paper in his left 
Counter-Order ; and over his forehead Disorder. Under 
such circumstances a conspiracy was formed against him 
in his very palace, from the ranks of his own most 
trusted official servants. The object, it would seem, was 
not to take his life, but to force from him a resignation 
1 Southey'e Life of Nelson, p. 248. 


in favour of his son. But when, in the night of the 
23rd of March, the conspirators accordingly burst into 
his chamber and secured his person, Paul attempted 
some resistance ; a scuffle ensued ; and, in the midst of 
the confusion, the Emperor was slain. 

On the death of Paul, his eldest son, a young prince 
of amiable disposition and promising abilities, was im- 
mediately proclaimed, under the title of Alexander the 
First. One of the earliest acts of the new Sovereign 
was to set free the British sailors and to restore the 
property of the British merchants that Paul had seized. 
Henceforth there was no difficulty in the negotiations 
with the Court of Russia ; and Sweden also, after those 
events, showed herself ready to grant any satisfaction 
that we might require. Thus did the league of the 
Armed Neutrality, which seemed so fraught with peril 
to us at the commencement of the year, dissolve into 
thin air ere yet the spring was past. 

Upon Egypt, as upon Denmark, an attack had been 
planned by the late administration. It was designed 
that some regiments of Sepoys despatched from India 
should be conveyed up the Red Sea and enter Egypt 
on that side, while a body of British troops should act 
from the Mediterranean. There was considerable delay 
in the progress of the former, but at the beginning of 
March the British troops appeared off the coast of 
Aboukir. They were about fourteen thousand strong, 
and for their chief had Sir Ralph Abercromby. At the 
sight of their boats advancing, the French outposts, 
under General Friant, bravely rushed down from the 
sand-hills, and withstood them even at the water's edge ; 
but the first division, with their bayonets fixed, success- 
fully effected their landing, and repulsed their gallant 
foe. The whole body then coming on shore, advanced 
within a few days to the heights before Alexandria, and 
secured a strong position, reducing also on their right 
the castle of Aboukir. 

At these tidings General Menou marched in nil haste 


from Cairo with the main body of the French. Besides 
their other difficulties at this period, there was great 
rivalry and discord among their Generals ; and Menou, 
as their chief, had by no means the energy required by 
so trying an occasion. On the 21st of March, however, 
he assailed the English army with great spirit, but was 
repulsed on all points, with a loss, as it was calculated, 
of four thousand men. The exultation of the victors 
was damped by the fall of their own gallant chief, Sir 
Ralph Abercromby, who was grievously wounded in the 
action, and who expired a few days afterwards. Never- 
theless, General Hutchinson, who succeeded him in the 
command, pursued his advantages, and while the French 
in Alexandria were closely pressed by the British army, 
Cairo was again threatened by the Grand Vizier with a 
rabble of Turks. 

In these last events there is one point which some 
writers have wholly overlooked. Those, like Lord 
Macaulay, who denounce the ill success of Mr. Pitt in 
every enterprise by land — who dwell upon the failure of 
the expeditions to Brittany and Holland — say nothing 
of the expedition to Egypt upon the other side. They 
appear to count it as belonging to Mr. Addington's 
administration ; and no doubt it was under Addington 
that the actions in Egypt were fought, and the French 
invaders were overthrown. But it was under Pitt that 
the entire enterprise was resolved on and equipped, its 
commander chosen, and its operations planned. If then 
Pitt is to be held in any measure answerable for the 
reverses of Quiberon or of the Helder — if a slur is on 
that account to be cast upon his fame — surely it is no 
more than just that his biographers should claim for 
him one laurel-leaf at least from the victor's wreaths 
at Aboukir. 

In another quarter Portugal was threatened by Spain 
with an unjust aggression ; and Spain had the support 
of France. On the 18th of May Lord Hawkesbury, in 
the House of Commons, moved a subsidy of 300,000^. 


to our ancient ally. Mr. Grey, though not intending 
to divide against the vote, stated some grounds of objec- 
tion to it, and declaimed against the entire foreign 
policy of the late administration. Next rose Mr. Pitt. 
' The Hon. gentleman,' he said, ' thinks this proposal 
comes too late, and is too small for the purpose of 
affording effectual relief to Portugal. If that is really 
his opinion, he might censure Ministers for not bringing 
it forward sooner ; but he ought, if he were consistent 
with himself, to accelerate that which he thinks too 
tardy, and to increase that which he thinks too small, 
instead of opposing it altogether.' 

' But the Hon. gentleman,' so Pitt proceeded, ' has 
been pleased to inveigh against the late administration, 
who, from the delays of which they were guilty, he says 
uniformly failed ; but who, I say, notwithstanding those 
delays, and their uniform failures, have somehow or 
other contrived, amidst the desolation of Europe, to 
deprive our enemies of almost all their colonial posses- 
sions — to reduce almost to annihilation their maritime 
strength — to deprive them of, and to appropriate to 
ourselves, the whole of their commerce, and to maintain 
in security our territories in every part of the globe. 
These, Sir, are the successes with which the tardy efforts 
of the last administration have been crowned. It is 
to these successes that the Hon. gentleman owes the 
opportunity he now makes use of to talk in this place 
with retrospective criticism of the conduct of the war. 
But I wish to ask the Hon. gentleman how we could 
avoid sending a force to Egypt unless we determined to 
give it up to France ? He does not deny that it is an 
object of the greatest importance to this country; but 
he says the expedition would have been unnecessary if 
we had agreed to the convention of El Arish. Sir, this 
subject has been discussed more than once.' [Here Mr. 
Tyrrwhitt Jones called out ' Hear, hear !'] ' Sir, I beg 
leave to assure that Hon. gentleman that I will never 
interrupt any of his speeches with " Hear, hear !" nor, if 

VOL. III. c 


I can avoid it, will I undergo the mortification of hear- 
ing any more of his declamations upon this subject.' 

In this last paragraph it may be noticed that Mr. Pitt 
refers to the occasional relaxation, which, as a private 
Member of Parliament, he intended henceforth to allow 
himself. He should not deem it necessary to attend 
all the trifling debates, raised by such men as Mr. Tyrr- 
whitt Jones, after he had lost what I remember Sir 
Eobert Peel on a like occasion called ' the inestimable 
privilege of being baited, night after night, by the 
gentlemen opposite.' 

The tidings from Egypt had by this time reached 
England, and, like those from Denmark, had been 
received with much enthusiasm. The House of Com- 
mons voted a monument in St. Paul's Cathedral to Sir 
Kalph Abercromby, and the King bestowed a peerage 
and a pension on his widow. Such victories, both in the 
north and in the south, might well afford a chief topic 
to the King's Speech at the close of the Session on the 
2nd of July. That Speech, however, was not delivered 
by the King in person. Since his illness in this year, 
as after his illness in 1789, he suffered severely at in- 
tervals from languor and depression. But the Lords 
Commissioners in his name referred to 'the brilliant 
and repeated successes both by sea and land,' which, 
they added, ' derive particular value, in His Majesty's 
estimation, from their tendency to facilitate the great 
object of his unceasing solicitude, the restoration of 
peace on fair and adequate terms.' 

It was well understood by the public at the time that 
in accordance with the spirit of these words, a negotia- 
tion for peace had commenced and was carrying on be- 
tween Lord Hawkesbury and M. Otto in London. Even 
the hope was cheering, and the reality it was thought 
would not be long delayed. Later in the season the 
people were further cheered by a blessing which in 
recent years had been denied them — a productive and 
plentiful harvest. 


Mr. Pitt, at the close of his Parliamentary attend- 
ance, had retired to Walmer Castle. Both there and 
in London he was greatly harassed by the state of his 
private affairs. He had for some years become more 
and more involved. Even in 1797 his debts had been 
estimated by Mr. Eose at between thirty and forty 
thousand pounds, including the two mortgages of 4000Z. 
and 7000£. upon the estate of Holwood. But these 
debts had now grown in extent, and upon an accurate 
computation were found to be no less than 4:5,064:L l 

It is not easy at first sight to understand or to explain 
such enormous liabilities. As First Lord of the Trea- 
sury and Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr. Pitt had a 
salary of 6000Z. a-year. As Lord Warden of the Cinque 
Torts there was a further salary of 3000^., besides 
certain small dues and rents upon the Dover coast, 
amounting to a few hundred pounds more. On the 
whole, then, since 1792 Pitt had been in the receipt of 
nearly 10,000£. a-year. He had no family to maintain. 
He had no expensive tastes to indulge. He had never, 
like Fox, frequented the gaming-table ; he had not, like 
Windham, large election bills to pay. With common 
care he ought not to have spent above two-thirds of his 
official income. 

But unhappily that common care was altogether 
wanting. Pitt, intent only on the national Exchequer, 
allowed himself no time to go through his own accounts. 
The consequence was that he came to be plundered 
without stint or mercy by some of his domestics. Once 
or twice during his official life he had asked his friend 
Lord Carrington to examine his household accounts. 
Lord Carrington subsequently told Mr. Wilberforce the 
results of that inquiry. He had found that the waste of 
the servants' hall was almost fabulous. The quantity 
of butchers' meat charged in the bills was nine hundred 
weight a week. The consumption of poultry, fish, 

1 See the estimate as drawn out by Mr. Rose, Diaries, &c.,vol. i. 
p. 428. 

c 2 


and tea was in proportion. The charge for the ser- 
vants in wages, board - wages, liveries, and bills at 
Holwood and in London exceeded 2300L a-year. 1 Still 
Pitt would never give the requisite time to sift and 
search out such abuses. His expenses were not checked, 
and his debts continued to grow. 

Some friends to the memory of this great Minister 
have judged so ill as rather to praise him for the 
accumulating debts, which evinced his lofty mind. No 
doubt that Mr. Pitt's proud disdain of money may be 
favourably contrasted with the unscrupulous greediness 
of men like Mr. Rigby. Yet surely between these two 
extremes there lies a more excellent way. The example 
of some succeeding statesmen, as the Duke of Welling- 
ton and Sir Robert Peel, may suffice to prove that the 
most toilsome labours in the guidance of public affairs 
are not inconsistent with the thrifty administration of a 
private fortune. Even in the busiest career some little 
leisure for accounts may always be secured. And 
upon the whole most readers will, I think, concur as I 
do with Lord Macaulay, where he goes on to say : ' The 
character of Pitt would have stood higher if, with the 
disinterestedness of Pericles and Do Witt, he had united 
their dignified frugality.' 

So long as Mr. Pitt continued in great office his credi- 
tors were content to wait. But when they learnt that 
he was resigning, and that two-thirds of his present 
income would be lost, the impatience of some among 
them could no longer be restrained. The demands 
upon Pitt grew to be of the most pressing kind. There 
was reason to apprehend from day to day that an 
execution might be put into his house ; that his rooms 
might be left without furniture, and his stable without 
horses. He determined on the sale of Holwood ; but 
considering the heavy mortgages on that little property, 

1 Compare on this point Lord Macaulay's Biographies, p. 23.1, 
with a note in the Life of Wilberforce, vol. iii. p. 245, and with a 
passage in Rose's Diaries, vol. i. p. 402. 


its sale could only afford him on the balance a most 
scanty sum. 

Pitt was too proud to utter a word of complaint even 
to his nearest friends. But they, and even, though in 
less degree, the public at large, soon became aware of 
the extremities to which he was reduced. There was a 
most earnest desire on their part, so far as he would 
allow them, to succour and relieve him. For this object 
three plans were at different times proposed. In the 
first place some gentlemen intended to bring forward 
a motion in the House of Commons for a public grant 
to him. But when Mr. Rose told Mr. Pitt of that 
design, ' he assured me in the most solemn manner ' 
— so Mr. Eose continues — ' of his fixed resolve on no 
consideration whatever to accept anything from the 
public' ' Bather than do that,' added Pitt, ' I would 
struggle with any difficulties. If, indeed, I had had 
the good fortune to carry the country safe through, all 
its dangers, and to see it in a state of prosperity, I 
should have had a pride in accepting such a grant. 
But under all the present circumstances of the country 
and myself, it would be utterly inconsistent with my 
feelings to receive anything.' 1 

Next there was a renewal of the generous offer which 
the merchants of London had made Mr. Pitt in 1789. 
A deputation from them waited on him to state that 
they had ready subscribed for his use a sum of one hun- 
dred thousand pounds, which should be paid into any 
banking house which he chose, and so that he should 
never know the name of any one of the subscribers. 
This noble gift was, however, as nobly declined. If 
(said Mr. Pitt) he were ever again in office, he should 
always feel abashed and constrained when any request 
was addressed to him from the City, lest by non-com- 
pliance he should be thwarting the wishes of some 
among his unknown benefactors. 2 

1 Diary of Mr. Rose, March 19, 1801. 

'-' Adolphus's History of England, vol. vii. p. 595. Mr. Adolphus 


The first two plans, therefore, fell to the ground. 
Thirdly, the King, on learning the difficulties of his 
late Minister, desired in the most generous and 
friendly spirit to remove them. Early in the summer 
His Majesty, on his way to Weymouth, paid a visit of 
some days at Cuffnells, the seat of Mr. Rose in the 
New Forest. There he proposed to put into the hands 
of Mr. Rose the sum of 30,000?. from his Privy 
Purse for the payment of Mr. Pitt's debts ; a sum, I 
may observe, which, with the proceeds of the sale of 
Holwood, would exactly have sufficed. His Majesty 
further expressed his wish that the affair might, if 
possible, be so conducted as to prevent any suspicion 
arising in the mind of Mr. Pitt of the quarter from 
whence the aid proceeded. It must be owned, I think, 
that this offer reflects the highest honour on both the 
parties concerned. But the sequel may best be related 
in Mr. Rose's own words : ' The scheme was found to 
be impracticable without a communication with Mr. 
Pitt. On the mention of it to him he was actually 
more affected than I recollect to have seen him on 
any occasion ; but he declined it, though with the 
deepest sense of gratitude possible. It was, indeed, 
one of the latest circumstances he mentioned to me, 
with considerable emotion, towards the close of his 

The passage which I have here cited is derived from 
a letter dated so lately as December, 1809, and written 
to be laid before the King. The object of Mr. Rose in 
this recapitulation was to obtain the King's consent that 
His Majesty's offer might be made known to the world 
in a tract which Mr. Rose was about to publish. But 
the King with the noble spirit which had marked his 
conduct in the whole affair, declared that he had never 
mentioned it since, and that he could not agree to its 

derived his information from a great merchant who was himself 
present at the interview. See also Mr. Rose's speech in the House 
of Commons after Pitt's death, Peh. 3, 180G. 


public statement, ' as it would bear the appearance of 
making a parade of his intentions.' 1 

This third most honourable offer being then, like 
the two first, declined, only one other course remained — 
that Mr. Pitt should consent to accept the contributions 
of some personal friends. It was the very course which 
Mr. Fox, under similar difficulties, had adopted some 
years before. At that time the transaction, amidst all 
the acerbities of party conflict, had provoked some 
strokes of satire from the Ministerial body. From these 
Pitt himself had not altogether refrained. The sub- 
scription for Fox had been begun without Fox's know- 
ledge, and some one in Pitt's company was asking how 
Mr. Fox would take it : < Take it ? ' said Pitt, ' why I 
suppose that he will take it quarterly, or perhaps it may 
be half-yearly ! ' 

With such recollections Pitt must have felt double 
pain in resorting to the same or nearly the same expe- 
dient. But he was warmly pressed by his nearest friends, 
among whom on this occasion Lord Camden, Rose, and 
the Bishop of Lincoln took the lead. Still more press- 
ing was the urgency of his private affairs. His final 
surrender, as I may term it, is described as follows : — 

The Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

Buckden Palace, Aug. 7, 1801. 
My dear Sir, — The conversation with Mr. Pitt yesterday 
was very short. We first examined the statement which 
was placed before us in Hill Street, and Mr. Pitt made some 
deductions and some additions in consequence of money 
which had been paid and debts incurred since that paper was 
made out. The result was more favourable by about 2000/., 
as I thought ; he thought by about 3000/. I then told him 
that some of the creditors were extremely importunate and 
put to serious inconveniences by the want of the money, and 
that it was very much to be wished that the debts of all the 

1 See the letter of Col. Herbert Taylor (the Secretary of George 
the Third on his failure of sight) in Rose's Diaries, kc, vol. ii. p. 
215. It appears from this letter that in 1809 the King did not 
clearly recollect the exact sum wliicn he had named. 


common tradesmen, at least, which were to a large amount, 
sin ml J be immediately discharged; and, all other plans be- 
ing rejected, there remained only the one which I had men- 
tioned to him the day before — namely, the assistance of pri- 
vate friends. To this he expressed his readiness to accede. 
I then asked him whether he persisted in his determination 
to know the names of those friends from whom he was to 
receive this assistance: he answered, 'Most certainly.' I 
then told him that the matter had been considered, and that 
six of his friends, namely, Lord Camden, Steele, Rose, Long, 
Smith, 1 and myself, were ready to stand forward and put 
his affairs into such a situation immediately that he might 
assure himself that he would suffer no inconvenience or em- 
barrassment from his creditors. He signified his consent 
without a moment's hesitation, and added there were no per- 
sons to whom he had rather owe a kindness or accommoda- 
tion than those whom I had mentioned. I instantly said, 
' Then I believe, Sir, we need not trouble you any further ; 
you and J. Smith 2 can engage for the thing being done.' 
Thus ended the conversation. I went and told Lord Camden, 
who seemed perfectly satisfied with what had passed. I 
then returned, and sat with Mr. Pitt alone at least half an 
hour. He said nothing about this particular plan, but men- 
tioned an idea of insuring his life and assigning the policy as 
a security for the money he borrows. lam inclined to think 
that this would be a better scheme than selling a part of his 
Cinque Ports, and ought perhaps to be adopted in preference 
to any other if he resolves to do something. I am confident 
h'> means to pay interest, and I think he will not be easy 
unless he provides some security for the principal . . . 
Yours ever most trulv, G. Lincoln. 

Mr. Joseph Smith, referred to in the preceding letter, 
was commonly called among his friends 'Joe Smith.' 
He was no relative of Robert Smith, Lord Carrington ; 
but had been during several years Private Secretary to 
Mr. Pitt. Since then he had lived for the most part at 
his country-house near Saffron Walden, and Pitt, who 

1 This is meant for Lord Carrington, as will appear from the 
subsequent List. 

'-' .Mr. Joseph Smith. 


continued his friend, was not unfrequently among his 

I now proceed to give the List of Subscribers, not 
made public at the time, but as drawn up and preserved 
by Mr. Rose : — 

Contributors to the Sum op £11,700 advanced in 1801. 

Lord Camden £1000 

Lord Bat hurst 1000 

Bishop of Lincoln 1000 

Lord Carrington 1000 

Mr. Steele 1000 

Mr. Hose 1000 

From Scotland £4000, namely — 

Lord Melville £1000 

Duke of Buccleuch .... 1000 

Duke of Gordon 1000 

Chief Baron 1000 


Mr. Wilberforce 500 

Mr. Long 500 

Mr. Joseph Smith 500 

Uncertain (probably from Lord Alvanley) . 200 


By this sum, which the care of Mr. Joseph Smith 
applied, the most pressing claims were discharged, and 
the retired Minister could continue to live in comfort, 
but of course with a greatly reduced establishment. 
The sale of Holwood, although resolved upon in this 
year, did not take place until the next : then it was 
disposed of by auction, the purchaser being Sir (xeorge 
Pocock, and the price \ 5,0001. Deducting the two 
mortgages, therefore, this sale left a balance of 4,0007. 
at the disposal of Pitt. 

To part with Holwood, so long his favourite retreat, 
must have been to Pitt a bitter pang. I have not found 
a word of complaint upon the subject in any of his letters 
that are preserved, or in any of his conversation that is 
recorded. But he once said to his friend Lord Bathurst : 
' When a boy I used to go a bird-nesting in the woods 


of Holwood, and it was always my wish to call it my 
own.' ' 

From Sir George Pocock the estate of Holwood passed 
ere long to other hands ; and some twenty years later 
the house of Pitt was pulled down. There is, I believe, 
no trace of him in the modern mansion except only the 
writing-table that he used. But in the domain ' the 
Pitt Oak ' still marks a spot where he often sat ; and 
' the Wilberforce Oak ' remains as a record of his own, 
conjointly with another's fame. 2 

During this summer the military operations were 
continued. The French bad been threatening an in- 
vasion from several of their ports, and above all from 
Boulogne ; and Nelson, who had now succeeded to the 
home command, directed an attack upon the flotilla at 
that place. But so strong were the defences that the 
enterprise had little success. In the Peninsula, Por- 
tugal succumbed to the superior force of Spain and 
France, and subscribed an ignominious treaty, consenting 
to renounce her British alliance and to close her ports 
to British ships. In requital, and for the protection of 
our trade, the island of Madeira was secured, with the 
joyful assent of its inhabitants, by a British force under 
Colonel Clinton, son of the Sir Henry, of American 

In Egypt the losses of the French grew to be decisive. 
On the 16th of May the Grand Vizier defeated one 
division of their army under General Belliard, by dint 
of his far superior numbers. Then combining with 
General Hutchinson, the two chiefs proceeded to the 
investment of Cairo, and compelled General Belliard to 
surrender before the close of June. Immediately after- 
wards General Hutchinson was joined by the expected 
force from India, which had sailed into the Eed Sea and 
marched across the desert from Cosseir ; it was a body 

1 Roger* g Recollections, note at page 189, as derived from Lord 
Bathurst himself. 
- See vol. i. p. 292. 


of seven thousand men, commanded by General Baird. 
Thus strengthened, General Hutchinson was able to 
besiege the remaining French in Alexandria. The place 
ere long was closely pressed. On the 27th of August 
General Menou losing all hope of relief from France, 
and having lost already the confidence of his own men, 
requested a capitulation. He obtained the same honour- 
able terms as had General Belliard at Cairo. The 
French were not to be considered as prisoners of war, 
but to be embarked with their arms, artillery, and bag- 
gage, and set free upon the shores of France. And thus 
was Egypt reconquered from its martial invaders, to 
the just renown both of British counsels and of British 

Meanwhile the negotiation for peace was pursuing 
between Lord Hawkesbury and Monsieur Otto. When- 
ever Mr. Pitt passed through London on his way to or 
from Buckden Palace, or Burton Pynsent, or any other 
country visit, his advice on the points at issue appears 
to have been most anxiously sought and most frankly 
given. Towards the close of September indeed, when 
Pitt was fixed in Park Place, it may be said that he took 
into his own hands the chief control of this most respon- 
sible negotiation. At last on the 1st of October, the 
Preliminary Articles were signed, and Pitt wrote to 
many of his friends to give them the important news. 
Here are two of his letters : — 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Long. 

Park Place, Oct, 1, 1801. 

Dear Long, — I have but one moment to tell you that the 
die is at length cast, and the preliminaries are just signed. 

The signature will not be announced to the public till to- 
morrow morning. 

The terras, though not in every point precisely all that 
one could wish, are certainly highly creditable, and on the 
whole very advantageous. 

I do not expect all our friends to be completely satisfied, 
but the country at large will, I think, be very much so ; and 


I consider the event as fortunate both for the Government 
and for the public. I hope now in a very few days to come 
to you. Ever sincerely yours, W. P. 

Hiley would have written to you, but knows that I do. 

Mr, Pitt to Lord Mulgra/oe. 

Park Place (Oct. 2, 1801). 
Dear Mulgrave, — You would learn from to-day's ' Gazette' 
that our long suspense is at length terminated, and that pre- 
liminaries of peace were signed yesterday evening. As you 
will naturally be anxious to know the terms, I enclose a 
short statement of all that are material ; they will of course 
not be published at length till after the ratification. I can- 
not help regretting the Cape of Good Hope, though I know 
many great authorities do not attach to it the same impor- 
tance that I do. In other respects I think the treaty very 
advantageous, and on the whole satisfactory ; and the stipu- 
lations in favour of our Allies are peculiarly creditable. I 
shall be very happy to find that it strikes you in the same 
view. Ever sincerely yours, \V. Pitt. 

A few notes by Lord Malmesbury at this time throw 
some further light on the political scene. 4 Sept. 29. 
After an absence of three months, I came for a few days 
to London. On getting out of my carriage in St. James's 
Park, I met Mr. Addington, the Minister ; he was in 
uncommon high spirits, from which I readily inferred 
that the peace negotiation was likely to terminate suc- 
cessfully. . . . Windham came in the evening full of 
apprehensions. — Sept. 30. Great secrecy in the Cabinet 
as to peace. . . . Lord Granville Leveson averse. — Oct. 1. 
Windham in morning and evening ; quite in despair. 
The preliminaries were, I believe, settled this evening 
conclusively. Pitt counselled, and of course directed, 
the whole.' 

How different, I may observe, the real conduct of Pitt 
from that which some of his opponents have imputed to 
him ! They have alleged that his secret motive for 
throwing up the Premiership was his unwillingness to 
grant the hard terms of peace that would now be requi- 


site. Yet if that motive had weighed at all in Pitt's 
mind, nothing could have been easier for him than when 
he retired from office to keep aloof from the negotiation. 
Far from this, as we have seen, he was willing to direct 
and advise the conditions of the treaty. If it became 
unpopular, he was thus bound at all hazards to defend it. 
If, on the contrary, it became popular, he must have 
foreseen that the public would of course, as was just, 
assign the praise, not to him, but to the ostensible and 
responsible servants of the Crown. In no case could he 
be a personal gainer by the course which he pursued ; 
and it was a course that nothing but a high sense of 
public duty impelled. 

The Preliminary Articles, as signed on the 1st of 
October, involved very large concessions on the part of 
England. We restored to France, and to the allies of 
France, namely, Spain and Holland, all the colonies or 
islands which we had occupied or conquered in the 
course of the war, excepting only Trinidad and the 
Dutch possessions in Ceylon. The Cape of Good Hope 
was to be open to the commerce of both contracting 
parties. Malta was to be evacuated by the British 
troops and restored to the Order of St. John. To secure 
its future independence it was to be placed under the 
guarantee and protection of a third Power, to be agreed 
on in the definitive treaty. Egypt was to be restored 
to the ' Sublime Porte,' Portugal was to be preserved 
entire. The French forces were to relinquish the king- 
dom of Naples and the Roman territory, and the English 
forces Porto Ferrajo. The Republic of the Seven Islands 
was acknowledged by France ; the fisheries on the coast 
of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were 
restored to the same footing on which they stood before 
the war. The prisoners made respectively were to be 
restored without ransom on the conclusion of the defini- 
tive treaty ; and to negotiate that treaty plenipoten- 
tiaries were to be named on each side, and to meet at 


With respect to the choice of the plenipotentiary, 
there was no hesitation on the part of the British 
Ministers. They at once summoned Lord Cornwallis 
from Suffolk, and induced him to undertake the post. 
So lately as the 5th of Septemher his Lordship had ven- 
tured on a prediction. ' I confess that I see no prospect 
of peace.' And he had added, * I am myself out of 
sorts, low-spirited, and tired of everything.' ' But with 
his new employment his former spirits returned. On 
the other part, the First Consul determined to send to 
Amiens his eldest brother, Joseph. 

The tidings of the peace were hailed with joy and 
delight both in France and England. Both nations had 
sustained heavy losses. Both were weighed down by 
grievous burthens, and both indulged a happy vision of 
repose. Amongst ourselves the terms that had been 
found requisite to obtain that object were in general 
fully approved. The amount of the restitutions that we 
made was indeed very large. To give back the Cape of 
Good Hope especially, after some years' possession of 
that half-way house to India, seemed a great sacrifice. 
But, on the other hand, it was felt that we had been 
left without a single ally on the continent of Europe, 
and that, were we to continue the contest, General 
Bonaparte would be found no ordinary foe. 'It is a 
peace,' said the author of ' Junius,' ' which everybody is 
glad of, though nobody is proud of.' 

The state of public feeling, in the capital at least, 
was strongly manifested when, on the 10th of October, 
General Lauriston, an aide-de-camp of the First Consul, 
arrived at St. James's with the ratification of the Pre- 
liminary Articles. A large multitude with loud cheers 
escorted the General's carriage ; they took off the horses, 
and drew him in triumph through several streets. 2 On 
that night and on the following there was a general 
illumination. Nor were such tokens of joy confined to 

, vol. in. p. 382. 

1 Letter to General IJoss, CorrvroalUs Corregp., 

2 Am,. Regitt. 1801, second part, p. 33, 


London ; they are recorded also of many other towns. 
* Ramsgate was illuminated last night, and Deal is to 
make its shining display to-morrow ; ' so writes Mrs. 
Elizabeth Carter from the Kentish coast. 1 

A few statesmen, however, were adverse to the peace. 
No sooner was Lord Grrenville apprised of the exact 
terms, than he wrote to Mr. Addington announcing his 
fixed determination to oppose them and him whenever 
Parliament should meet. Lord Spencer and Lord Buck- 
ingham followed in the wake of Lord Grenville ; and 
Windham had been from the first vehement upon the 
same side. Here then was laid the groundwork of a 
new Opposition, very small indeed as to numbers, but 
by no means insignificant, considering the ability of its 

Fox at this time agreed neither with Grenville and 
Windham, nor yet with the public at large. He had 
been all through a warm admirer of the French Revo- 
lution. Writing to his nephew in 1795, we find him 
go the length of declaring that, ' for the general good, 
considering the diabolical principle of the present war, 
even the government of Robespierre, or a worse, if worse 
can be, is better than the restoration of the Bourbons.' 2 
With such sentiments, Mr. Fox had ceased to feel any 
pain in the reverses of his countrymen. On the con- 
trary, he almost gloried in them. 

It so chanced that on Saturday the 10th of October 
there was a crowded meeting at the Shakespeare Tavern 
to celebrate the anniversary of Fox's first election for 
Westminster. There the great orator delivered a long 
and able speech. He adverted to the resignation of 
Pitt at the commencement of the year, reviving the 
aspersions upon it which Lord Auckland had thrown 
out. ' From circumstances,' he said, ' which seem very 
mysterious, and which I, for one, most certainly do not 
in any degree understand, a change of Ministry at last 

1 Life of Lord Sidmouth, by Dean Pellew, vol. i. p. 456. 

2 Memorials and Correspondence, vol iii. p. 107. 


took place. I rejoiced at the event, though I was igno- 
rant of its cause. While those men who began the war 
remained in power, not a hope could be reasonably en- 
tertained that it would terminate before our ruin was 
consummated. The downfall of Ministry I therefore 
hailed as the happy omen of peace. I have not been 
mistaken, and peace by that means is obtained. My 
opinion of those who succeeded, you may believe, was 
not high ; but in abandoning the mad schemes of their 
predecessors, they have so far done well, and merit 
approbation. It may be said that the peace we have 
made is glorious to the French Kepublic, and glorious 
to the Chief Consul. Ought it not to be so? — Ought 
not glory to be the reward of such a glorious struggle ? 
France stood against a confederacy composed of all the 
great kingdoms of Europe ; she completely baffled the 
attempts of those who menaced her independence. . . . 
.... Some complain that we have not gained the 
object of the war. The object of the war we have not 
gained most certainly, and I like the peace by so much 
the better.' ' 

These expressions may be deemed sufficiently strong. 
But much stronger yet were Fox's sentiments in private. 
When, a few days afterwards, Grey wrote to him, and 
ventured to call him 'indiscreet,' Fox thus replied: 
* The truth is, I am gone something further in hate to 
the English Government than you and the rest of my 
friends are, and certainly further than can with pru- 
dence be avowed. The triumph of the French Govern- 
ment over the English does in fact afford me a degree 
of pleasure which it is very difficult to disguise.' 2 

1 Report in the Morning Chronicle, Monday, October 12, 1801. 

2 Letter to Mr. Grey, October 22, 1801, as published by Lord 
John Russell. 

1801 33 



Opening of Parliament — Debates on the Peace — Abbot elected 
Speaker — Cabinet office declined by Grey — Overtures of Erskine 
— Temporary estrangement between Pitt and Addington — Nego- 
tiation at Amiens— Treaty concluded— The Budget — Vote of 
Thanks to Pitt— Dinner in celebration of his birthday — 'The 
Pilot that weathered the Storm' — Dissolution of Parliament — 
General Election — Popularity of the Peace — Lord Castlereagh 
President of the Board of Control — Death of Barre — Fox and 
Erskine at Paris— Pitt at Walmer — His illness — Visited by 
Canning and Grenville. 

Soon after the signature of the Preliminaries, Mr. Pitt 
set off for Walmer Castle ; but he returned to town two 
or three days before the meeting of Parliament, which 
was fixed for the 29th of October. His mind was at 
that time intent on the financial schemes which must 
result from the conclusion of peace, as the following 
note will show. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Park Place, Oct, 2G, 1801. 
Dear Rose, — I received your letter yesterday morning, 
just as I was setting out from Walmer. All the sentiments 
it states are precisely those which I feel, and in which, I 
think, all moderate and dispassionate men will concur ; but 
I fear there are some of our friends who will not be found to 
be of that number. I am very glad that you have deter- 
mined to come up, and, if it will really be no inconvenience 
to you to be in town on Wednesday, I shall be much obliged 
to you, as there are many points connected with finance on 
which I wish much to converse with you, and on which I 
have some large projects in my mind. 

Ever sincerely yours, W. Pitt. 

Parliament was opened by the King in person. His 
Majesty announced in due form both the pacification 
with the Northern Powers, and the preliminaries of a 
treaty with France. This last arrangement would, he 

vol. in. n 


saidj manifest the justice and moderation of his views, 
and would also, as he trusted, be found conducive to the 
interest of his subjects. Very little debate ensued on 
this first evening. In the Lords there was only the 
Duke of Bedford, besides the mover and the seconder of 
the Address. In the Commons the speakers were many, 
but the speeches short. Every one desired to reserve 
himself for a fuller discussion on a future day. Mr. Fox 
said that, whatever difference there might be as to the 
terms of peace, or the manner of concluding it, he most 
cordially joined in the general joy and exultation to 
which it had given rise. Mr. Pitt, who rose next, spoke 
much to the same effect. ' I see both these treaties,' he 
said, ' upon the whole with great satisfaction. What- 
ever criticism may be applied to inferior parts of these 
great transactions, they are on the whole such as afford 
great joy to the country, and entitle the Government 
which concluded them to esteem and thanks.' 

Nor could Mr. Windham, who followed, altogether 
refrain from urging his extreme — may we not venture 
to call them extravagant ? — opinions. ' Sir, I speak 
from the bottom of my heart and with the solemnity of 
a death-bed declaration (a situation much resembling 
that in which we all stand), when I declare that my 
hon. friends who, in a moment of rashness and weak- 
ness, fatally put their hands to this treaty, have signed 
the death-warrant of their country. They have given it 
a blow under which it may languish for a few years, 
but from which I do not conceive how it is possible for 
it ever to recover.' 

On the 3rd of November there was moved in both 
Houses an Address to the King in approval of the peace. 
Among the Peers, Lord Grenville stated his objections 
fully and forcibly, as did also Lords Spencer and Fitz- 
william in few words. But on dividing, there were only 
H) votes against 114. In the Commons, Mr. Windham prevented by indisposition from attending, but next 
day, on the Report, he delivered a most ingenious and 


eloquent speech. So adverse was, however, the feeling 
of the House, that with all the boldness of Windham, 
he wisely forbore to call for a division. 

In the debate upon the 3rd both Pitt and Fox spoke 
in full detail, expressing, though on separate grounds, 
their approval of the peace. ' For my own part,' said 
Mr. Pitt, ' I have no hesitation to declare that I would 
rather close with an enemy upon terms short even of 
the fair pretensions of the country, provided they were 
not inconsistent with honour and security, than con- 
tinue the contest for any particular possession 

With respect to the island of Minorca, I entirely concur 
in the opinion of my Noble Friend (Lord Hawkesbury) 
that it will always belong to the Power which possesses 
the greatest maritime strength. The experience of the 
last four wars proves the justice of this observation. 
I cannot help expressing my regret that cir- 
cumstances were such as to prevent us from retaining 
a place so important in many points of view as the 

island of Malta But would the acquisition of 

all these islands have enabled us to counterbalance the 
power which France has acquired on the Continent? 
They would only give us a little more wealth ; but a 
little more wealth would be badly purchased by a little 
more war.' 

* We have at least ' — so in a different part of his 
speech Mr. Pitt proceeded — 'we have the satisfaction 
of knowing that we have survived the violence of the 
revolutionary fever, and that we have seen the extent of 
its principles abated. We have seen Jacobinism de- 
prived of its fascination ; we have seen it stripped of 
the name and pretence of liberty. It has shown itself 
to be capable only of destroying, not of building, and 
with a military despotism as its necessary end. I trust 
this important lesson will not be thrown away upon the 

The two Houses continued to sit until the 15th of 
December. They had not, however, much business be- 

i) 2 


fore them after their approval of the peace ; and the 
popularity of that peace was now giving strength to the 
new administration. Thus on the 1st of the month does 
Wilberforce describe the scene : ' Opposition is melting 
away manifestly. Grey gone out of town. Tierney has 
declared himself friendly. Erskine and Lord Moira 
ditto. Only Fox and Sheridan still where they were. 
.... Pitt supports most magnanimously, and assists 
in every way. Addington goes on well, is honest and 
respect able, and improves in speaking. Little or nothing 
to do in the House.' 

At this time, however, Wilberforce was intent on 
renewing, with better hopes since the pacification, his 
onset on the Slave Trade. We may learn from his own 
letters, and it is very remarkable, that Pitt was the 
person who first devised that scheme of Slave Trade 
treaties on which his successors acted. For thus writes 
Wilberforce to Addington; 'Whenever we do abolish 
for ourselves and alone, we leave our share of the Trade 
to be seized on by other countries ; and though we shall 
have then done our duty, however tardily, the benefit 
to Africa will be infinitely less than if all the European 
Powers were to abolish by common consent, and agree 
to set on foot — an idea of Pitt's, I think — a judicious 
system for repairing the wrongs and promoting the civi- 
lisation of that much-injured continent.' ' 

Two other letters of this period which I here subjoin 
will explain themselves. 

The Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

I ii.'iiiriv, SI . Paul's, 
Dec. 23, 1801. 

My dear Sir, — T remained in town till the 14th, and 
then went with Mr. Pitt to Cambridge. On the 16th, after 
dining at a great feast in Trinity College Hall, we went to 
Buckden, and he left us on the 19th. I did not receive your 
wry interesting letter till T reached Buckden ; and the short 
time I was there I was so occupied by company and business 

1 Lift' by his Sons, vol. iii. p. 32. 


(having an Ordination on the 20th), that I really had not 
leisure to write to you. I set out from Buckden yesterday, 
and came hither this morning. I saw very little of Mr. 
Pitt while I was in town. He was a day or two at Lord 
Hawkesbury's, and then he went to Holwood. When he 
was in town he was engaged every day to dinner. I scarcely 
know why, but I could not bring myself to enter upon any 
of those important subjects on which I knew I should differ 
from him as we went along in the carriage ; and I felt almost 
an equal reluctance when he was at Buckden. However, in 
the last walk we took on Friday, we fell insensibly into poli- 
tics, and he talked with his usual openness and good temper. 
I expressed very decidedly my opinion concerning the in- 
sufficiency of the present administration, especially upon 
subjects of finance, and reprobated the dangerous tendency 
of that spirit of candour and conciliation which had hitherto 
marked his conduct to Mr. A. I endeavoured to prove to 
him that he would materially injure his own character if he 
continued upon his present intimate footing with Mr. A., 
and if he abstained from declaring his opinion upon the 
measures which he really disapproved. I told him that such 
a line of conduct appeared to me a betrayal of the interests 
of his country. I mentioned the pains which had been 
taken, and which were still continued, to lower him in the 
estimation of the public ; and I ventured to say that his pre- 
sent conduct was precisely what his enemies wished and his 
friends could not approve. 

I am willing to think that I made some impression upon 
him. He owned that the opening of the distilleries was 
' perfectly absurd.' He said that if the peace establishment 
should not be settled as he wished, or that one or two certain 
measures of finance should not be adopted, he would certainly 
declare his opinion in Parliament. He seemed to think it 
not impossible but this opportunity might be afforded him. 

Upon the Catholic question our conversation was less 
satisfactory. He certainly looks forward to the time when 
he may carry that point ; and I fear he does not wish to 
take office again unless he could be permitted to bring it for- 
ward, and to be properly supported. I endeavoured to con- 
vince him that he had been deceived by those on whom he 
relied on this question, as far as Ireland itself was concerned, 
and that the measure would be very unpopular in England. 


I did not seem to make much impression upon this point, 
but I had not time to say all 1 wished and could have said. 
I thought it better not to touch upon the treacherous part 
of a certain person's character and conduct. That point has 
been fully urged by you, and I had no new matter to state. 
It appeared to me wiser to argue upon public grounds, and 
upon regard and concern for his own character. 

He was certainly not in so good spirits after this conver- 
se t ion, and he remained some time in his room doing nothing 
immediately after it, although he knew that a large party 
from Cambridge was waiting for him in the drawing-room. 
I am confident that he is not perfectly easy in his own mind 
about public matters, and I am satisfied that his uneasiness 
will increase. 

Yours most cordially, &c, G. Lincoln. 

Mr. Pitt to Lady Chatham. 

Park Place, Jan. 5, 1802. 
My dear Mother, — I had fixed my plan for setting out to 
Burton this morning, and was at last flattering myself witli 
the immediate prospect of having the comfort and happim 
of seeing you ; but the very severe weather, and the diffi- 
culty of 'the mads from the alternate succession of frost and 
thaw, added to a winter cold which I have had for some 
days, has obliged me again to defer it. From the very un- 
promising appearance of to-day, I begin to fear that there is 
but a slight chance of a favourable change early enough in 
the week to leave me time for accomplishing my purpose, 
and returning for the Birth-day, which I cannot with .any 
propriety avoid. I will not, however, quite relinquish the 
hope till the last moment. Even in that case, I trust the 
additional interval will be a very short one before I can re- 
sume my plan, as I very much flatter myself that after the 
first weeks of the Session there can be veiy little business of 
a sort to make it at all material for me to attend, and in 
that ease 1 shall be able to perform my journey with less 
chance of interruption, and I hope with my time less limited 
than if would be ai present. The frost has not, I hope, made 
itself frit in the west as much as here, or that at least you 
have not felt the effects of it. Have the goodness to give 
my love to my niece, and my kind and affectionate reinein- 


brance to Mrs. Stapleton. If I am not enabled to set out, I 
will write again in a day or two. 

Ever, my dear Mother, &c., W. Pitt. 

In the course of January the Prime Minister was 
enabled to show his cordial feelings towards his prede- 
cessor by calling to the honour of a seat at the Privy 
Council Mr. Pitt's two most intimate friends, Mr. Rose 
and Mr. Long. At the same time Mr. Wickham, who 
had been in the closest intimacy with Lord Grenville, 
was admitted to the same distinction, and shortly after- 
wards was appointed to the more substantial office of 
Secretary for Ireland. 

From the 15th of December Parliament had been 
adjourned from time to time until the 2nd of February. 
On that day business was resumed, and almost the first 
business was to choose a Speaker ; for the Earl of Clare 
having died, Sir John Mitford was appointed Chan- 
cellor of Ireland with a peerage as Lord Redesdale. 
Addington recommended his friend Charles Abbot 
to the vacant Chair, and Mr. Abbot was accordingly 

Other business proceeded. There was a Message 
from the King announcing a new debt upon the Civil 
List, which was subsequently found to amount to little 
less than one million sterling. There were also some 
large extraordinaries to defray, incurred in winding up 
the war in Egypt and the West Indies, and amounting 
to nearly two millions. There was a further vote to the 
same amount towards the reduction of the Navy Debt. 
In these and the like measures, through the remainder 
of the Session, the Government prevailed with great 
ease. As a passage from Wilberforce's Diary has already 
shown my readers, the members of the old Opposition 
no longer cohered. Some were beginning to come over, 
and Addington had hopes of more. 

Already in the summer Addington had conferred an 
English Barony on General Sir Charles Grey. The main 


object was, no doubt, to reward a gallant veteran, but 
there might also be the hope to conciliate a rising 
orator. Mr. Grey was, however, far from pleased at his 
father's elevation. It might at an early period call him 
from the sphere in which he shone ; and a peerage is 
but a poor exchange for a commanding position in the 
House of Commons. 

In the winter, nevertheless, Mr. Addington ventured 
on a second step, and made a direct offer of a Cabinet 
office to Mr. Grey. It was declined, so far as I can 
trace, mainly on the ground that the Ministry could not 
accede to any measure of Parliamentary Reform. 1 

On the other hand there were some persons willing 
not only to accept, but even to make an overture. For- 
ward among these was Mr. Erskine. There is on record 
a letter from him, which Dean Pellew has published. 2 
In it he expresses first his admiration of the Prime 
Minister, and next his hope of one of those stations, 
as he says, ' which my birth and acquired place render 
fit for me.' He was looking, it would seem, to the 
office of Attorney-General. 3 I do not know that Erskine 
was bound to continue his party ties with Fox. I do 
not know that he is to be blamed for seeking to connect 
himself with Addington. But I cannot excuse the bar- 
rister of well-won renown who puts forward his noble 
birth as a claim to professional advancement. 

Mr. Tierney also, and at a later period Mr. Sheridan, 
though without, so far as I know, any application on 
their part for office, showed in several debates a favour- 
able disposition to the Government. Their support, or 
even their good will, was of great value. But it had 
one countervailing inconvenience. To explain their 
cessation or diminution of hostility, they found it requi- 

1 Tliis offer was noi known to Dean Pellew as the biographer of 
Addington. Hut subsequently it lias peeped out both in the Fox 
Memorials (vol. iii. p. 351 and 357) and the Buckingham Pavers 
(vol. iii. p. 181). 

'-' " isdated Dec. 28, 1801. Life of Lord Sidmouth, vol.i. p.476. 

3 Lord Campbell's Lvoes of the Chancellors, vol. vi. p. 537. 


site to draw a parallel between the late administration 
and the present, greatly to the disadvantage of the 
former. So early as the 8th of February, in a debate 
upon the Army Extraordinaries, Mr. Tierney took occa- 
sion to inveigh against Mr. Pitt, then absent at Walmer 
Castle. He accused him of ' too loose an expenditure 
of the public money ; ' of ' neglect in the superin- 
tendence of expeditions ; ' and of i remissness in the 
inspection of accounts.' ' He must further blame,' he 
said, ' the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom he 
regretted not to see in his place, for holding back so 
many charges until the peace, by which means he had 
thrown a burthen upon his successor, who had now the 
odium of applying for four or five millions of money to 
provide for expenses which his predecessor had incurred. 
I have not,' he added, ' the delicacy of the Right Hon. 
gentleman, which restrains him from complaining of 
such conduct. I say he has been hardly and cruelly 

At the close of this attack, Mr. Steele immediately 
rose in defence, as he said, of his absent friend, who had 
designedly kept nothing back, and who had not found 
it necessary to make such an application to Parliament 
as the present, because there had been no exceeding in 
his accounts, his estimates having nearly coincided with 
the expenses. To the same effect, with the aid of facts 
and figures, spoke also Mr. William Dundas. But 
Addington, who rose next, did no more than in a single 
sentence express his denial of the charge. He had 
already taken part in the debate, and this may have 
been one reason for his brevity. He may likewise have 
thought Pitt in no need of further defence. Since, how- 
ever, Addington was at all times by no means insensible 
to personal compliments, he may also have been a little 
slow in disavowing and repelling those which Tierney 
had paid him. 

At all events Pitt was greatly chafed. He wrote at 
once to the Prime Minister in the following terms : — 


Walmer Castle, Feb. 10, 1802. 
My dear Sir, — You will not wonder if the account which 
has reached me this morning, of Monday's debate, has en- 
gaged not a little of my attention. I know how little news- 
papers can l>e trusted for the exactness of their reports ; and 
I therefore do not allow their statement to make its full im- 
pression, but wait for more correct information. But if the 
substance of what passed is anything like what is represented, 
I should not deal honestly if I did not take the first moment 
to own to you that I think I have much to wonder at, and 
to complain of, and that what is due to my own character 
will not suffer me to leave the matter without further ex- 
planation. I hope I have never been captious, and I am 
sure I can never suffer my public opinions to be influenced 
by personal feelings ; but there may be attacks under which, 
from the mode of their being received rather than of their 
being made, it may be impossible to acquiesce. I heartily 
wish I may find this impression mistaken ; but feeling it as 
I do, I have thought that to state it distinctly is the part of 
one who has long been and wishes ever to remain, 

affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

Here were certainly grounds for strong alarm to 
Mr. Addington. 

Quam timco victus ne poenas exiget Ajax, 
Ut male defensus ! 

And the reply of the Minister was as follows : — 

Downing Street, Feb. 11, 1802. 
My dear Sir, — Your letter is a severe addition to the 
trials which it has been my lot to undergo. I trust, how- 
ever, that I shall not be found unequal to any accumulation 
of them which it may please Clod to permit. It will be to 
Steele only that I shall communicate your letter. I shall do 
so without comment, and shall only request that he will ab- 
stain from letting me know his sentiments on the occasion 
of it till he has stated them to you. I will not describe any 
of the feelings which possess me at this moment : it is, how- 
ever, a support and consolation to me to know that I have 
ever been and ever proved myself affectionately and unalter- 
ably yours, Henry Addington. 


On coming up to town, however, and receiving the 
promised explanations from Steele and also from Long, 
Pitt declared himself satisfied. He assured Addington 
that he should dismiss every disagreeable reflection 
from his mind, and in his last note offered to walk or 
ride with him on the following day, as might suit him 
best. Addington, on his part, was as sincerely cordial. 
Yet still one cloud, though since passed away, had now 
arisen between them, and might be the precursor of 

While thus, as in the cases of Erskine and Tierney, 
Fox had to regret the political estrangement, at least 
in some degree, of several friends, he lost another by 
death. This was Francis Duke of Bedford. The Duke 
was not quite thirty-seven years of age, yet had already 
attained considerable distinction in the House of Lords. 
Fox undertook the duty of moving a new Writ for 
Tavistock in the place of Lord John Eussell, who 
succeeded his brother in the Dukedom ; and on this 
occasion he delivered an eloquent and glowing pane- 
gyric on his departed friend. A few days afterwards 
he sent this Oraison Funebre (as it may be termed) to 
the 'Monthly Magazine,' observing to the Editor that 
he had never before attempted to make a copy of 
any speech which he had delivered in public. 1 The 
report, in Mr. Fox's own handwriting, is still pre- 
served, where I have been shown it, in the library at 

At nearly the same period there ensued the death 
of Lord Kenyon. Sir Edward Law, an excellent lawyer, 
and a man of most vigorous intellect, was appointed 
Chief Justice in his place. Mr. Perceval became — from 
Solicitor — Attorney-General, while the office of Solicitor 
was bestowed on Mr. Manners Sutton, afterwards Lord 

Meanwhile Lord Cornwallis on the Continent was 
pursuing his negotiations. He had gone, in the first 

1 Note to Pari. Hist., vol. xxxvi. p. 365. 


instance, to Paris, and was presented to the First 
Consul, ' who,' says Lord Cornwallis, ' was gracious to 
the highest degree.' ' Next he repaired to Amiens and 
began his conferences with Joseph Buonaparte. They 
were afterwards joined by the .Ministers from the Bata- 
vian .Republic and from Spain, who added not a little to 
the difficulties of the negotiation. 

Into these difficulties I do not propose to enter in 
detail. It was natural that the Ministers in England 
should regard with jealousy the ambitious designs which 
General Bonaparte was at no pains to conceal. He sent 
out a formidable expedition to attempt the reconquest 
of St. Domingo ; he accepted the Presidency which 
was tendered him of the Cisalpine Eepublic, changing 
at the same time its name to the Italian ; and thus, 
besides the indication of his ulterior projects, he cen- 
tred in his single hands the sovereign power both of 
France and Lombardy. Against such steps, though 
hazarded before the conclusion of a peace, it was not 
easy for the British Government to protest ; but, viewed 
by this light, the new demands put forth at Amiens were 
still less to be approved. 

The pretensions of Joseph Bonaparte tending to 
unsettle several points which the Preliminary Articles 
had already in fact decided, were strenuously and at 
last successfully opposed by Lord Cornwallis. Malta 
was, however, from the first the point upon which the 
main controversies turned. The English Government 
had agreed to give up the island, but desired to frame 
such an arrangement as would prevent its being on 
the first opportunity recovered by the French. It was 
no easy matter to find any guaranteeing State with so 
much power as to afford the requisite protection, and 
yet with so little as to raise no ground of jealousy. 
Spain, Naples, and Russia were in turn suggested and 
refused ; but after much negotiation another expedient 

1 Cornwallis Corresp., vol. iii. p. 390. In another private letter 
Lord Cornwallis adds, ' He is quick, animated, at iljjarle en B&i.' 


was devised. It was agreed that the island of Malta, 
with its small dependencies Gozo and Comino, should 
be restored to the Order of St. John, to be held on the 
same conditions as before the war, but subject to some 
new stipulations. The British forces were to evacuate 
the islands within three months from the exchange of 
the ratifications, or sooner if possible, provided that 
the Grand Master, or Commissioners fully authorised 
by him, were at Malta to receive possession, and pro- 
vided also there had then arrived a force of two thou- 
sand men which was to be supplied by the King of 
Naples and to serve as a garrison during the first 
year. The guarantee of the principal Powers of 
Europe was stipulated, and the neutrality for all times 
to come of the Order and of the islands was declared. 

With this arrangement as to Malta, and with a 
renewal of the other stipulations defined in the Pre- 
liminary Articles, the Treaty of Peace between England 
on the one part, and France, Spain, and Holland on the 
other, was finally concluded at Amiens on the 27 th of 
March, 1802. 

No sooner were the terms of the Treaty known 
than Lord Grenville and Mr. Windham renewed their 
attacks in Parliament : they produced, however, very 
little effect. Without any disparagement to the great 
ability of either statesman, it may be said that here 
the common sense of the country was against them. 
It was not difficult for these objectors to point out 
some concessions which it had been painful to make, 
or some dangers which it might be reasonable to 
foresee. But still the practical question remained — 
was it not wiser to make peace on the best conditions 
that could be obtained rather than persevere single- 
handed in an almost hopeless contest ? On this ground 
Mr. Pitt continued to give his steady support to the 
administration. On this ground Lord Grenville, when 
he ventured to divide in the House of Lords, found 
himself again defeated by overwhelming numbers — 122 


votes against 16 ; and in the Commons the majority 
was much greater still. The Address moved by Mr. 
Windham was rejected by 276 against 20. 

In conversation at this time with Lord Malmesbury, 
Mr. Pitt observed of Windham, ' Nothing can be so 
well-meaning or so eloquent as he is: his speeches 
are the finest productions possible — of warm imagina- 
tion and fancy. Yet still I must condemn such parts 
of them as hold out the French nation as the first in 
point of military and political abilities, and therefore 
deservedly the first in Europe. This part of it is a 
language I strongly reprobate as not correct, and as 
unbecoming the mouth of any Englishman.' l 

Peace being thus obtained, Finance was the next 
object. Mr. Addington brought forward his Budget on 
the 5th of April. He proposed a considerable and 
immediate remission of taxes to the people : he at once 
repealed the Income Tax, which produced at this time 
not quite six millions a year, and he added to the 
Three per Cents above fifty-six millions of unfunded 
debt. This sum, added to the loan of the year of 
twenty-three millions, made seventy-nine millions, which 
vast sum accordingly Mr. Addington, by a very bold 
resolution, added to the capital stock in a single year. 
'Mr. Pitt was consulted with respect to these arrange- 
ments, and fully approved them all.' So writes Mr. 
Vansittart, who was at that time Secretary of the 
Treasury. 2 

Two other debates of this period excited some atten- 
tion, not so much by their importance as from the 
personal attacks which they involved. On the 12th 
of April Sir Francis Burdett moved for a Committee 
of the whole House to inquire into the conduct of 
the late administration. In a speech of considerable 
length he inveighed especially against Pitt, and ar- 
raigned with much bitterness the entire course of the 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 6(1. 

- Notes inserted in the Life of Lord Sid month, vol. ii. p. 61. 


war. ' I demand inquiry,' he said, ' in order that 
punishment should follow guilt, as an example to 
Ministers hereafter.' 

It may well be supposed that this attack was very 
offensive to the large majority of Members who had 
supported Mr. Pitt in all his measures. Lord Belgrave 
became the mouth-piece of their indignation. He moved 
an amendment, that, on the contrary, the thanks of the 
House should be given to the late Ministers for their 
wise and salutary conduct throughout the war. The 
Opposition cried out that such an amendment was con- 
trary to the forms of Parliament ; but the Speaker 
decided that it was regular, thougli very unusual, and 
that it might be put. 

But here Pitt rose. In his loftiest tone he said that 
he would not offer one word on the original motion, but 
he hoped he might be allowed to suggest that the 
amendment was certainly, for want of notice, against 
the general course of proceeding in the House, and that 
it ought to be withdrawn. Lord Belgrave did accord- 
ingly withdraw it, and, after some further debate, the 
House divided. Then the motion of Sir Francis was 
rejected by an immense majority ; there being for it 39 
Members, but against it 246. Upon this, Lord Belgrave 
gave notice that he would, after the Eecess, bring for- 
ward a vote of thanks to the late administration. 

It was probably to anticipate this motion that a second 
attack was made. The assailant was now Mr. John 
Nicholls, and the time the 7th of May. The speech 
of Mr. Nicholls was, as usual with that gentleman's 
speeches, very coarse, and though coarse, very flimsy. 
Thus, for instance, did Mr. Nicholls describe Pitt's 
resignation : ' When he finds himself no longer able 
to continue in office, he throws out lures, hopes, and 
temptations to a very numerous and respectable body of 
His Majesty's subjects to look up to him as their only 
chance of redress. He endeavours to set the whole 
Catholic body in motion, and to alienate their affections 




from their Sovereign. This, Sir, I maintain, is crimi- 
nality of the deepest dye, and the atrocity of which 
rests entirely with himself.' As a logical deduction 
from premises like these, Mr. Nicholls concluded by 
moving an Address of Thanks to His Majesty * for 
having been pleased to remove the Eight Hon. William 
Pitt from his councils.' 

This motion, like that of Sir Francis Burdett, was 
seconded by Mr. Tyrrwhitt Jones. Then up got Lord 
Belgrave. He pointed out that the foundation of the 
proposed Address was entirely false. The King had 
not dismissed Mr. Pitt. That Minister had of himself 
resigned his post. The consequence, therefore, of agree- 
ing to this vote would be, that the House of Commons 
would thank the King for doing what the King had not 

But Lord Belgrave had other and no less weighty 
objections, such as in the first debate he had already 
urged. These he stated again, and wound up by moving 
as an amendment the Resolution of which he had given 
notice, expressing the opinion of the House in favour of 
the wisdom, energy, and firmness of His Majesty's coun- 
cils during the late arduous contest. 

Pitt himself took no part in the discussion. He was 
not even present at it. But the members of the old 
Opposition felt that an approval of the late Ministers 
involved in some degree a censure of themselves ; they 
therefore strained every nerve against Lord Belgrave's 
Resolution. First, they said that in regular form it 
could not be put as an amendment. Next, when the 
Speaker had ruled that point against them, vehement 
harangues, resisting the motion on its merits, were de- 
livered by Grey and Erskine, by Fox and Tierney. 
On the other hand, not only Wilberforce and Sir 
Robert Peel, as independent men, but also Lord 
Hawkesbury and Addington, spoke strongly in its sup- 
port. And, finally, the Resolution was adopted by over- 
whelming numbers — 222 Yeas, and but 52 Nays. 

1802 VOTE 01< THANKS TO PITT. 49 

This triumphant vote did not suffice to Mr. Pitt's 
friends. Sir Henry Mildmay immediately started up, 
and moved a second Resolution, as direct in its praise 
as had been Mr. Nicholls's in his condemnation. It was 
a Vote of Thanks to Mr. Pitt by name. The Opposition 
were in sore dismay. They had not strength sufficient 
for direct resistance, and so they endeavoured to parry 
this home-thrust by a side-blow. Mr. Fox proposed as 
an amendment, to include the names of Lord Gfrenville, 
Lord Spencer, and others, who had been Mr. Pitt's col- 
leagues in the conduct of the war. But the majority of 
the House was not thus to be turned aside from its 
object. 1 1 cannot think,' said Mr. Thomas Grrenville, 
i that this amendment is seriously meant as a mark of 
respect to my Noble Relative.' And, without any divi- 
sion, the amendment was rejected. 

Mr. Grey now came forward with a second proposal. 
It was to limit the Vote of Thanks to a single subject, 
through an addition of this phrase, ' by which the pre- 
sent Government has been enabled to conclude a safe, 
honourable, and glorious peace.' That amendment also 
passed in the negative. And then the House, proceeding 
to vote upon the main question, carried by overwhelming 
numbers, and against the same minority of fifty-two, 
the following words : ' That the Right Hon. William 
Pitt has rendered great and important services to his 
country, and especially deserves the gratitude of this 
House.' After this last vote, and at six in the morning, 
the House adjourned. 

It was in this manner, through steps which the ill- 
judged animosity of his enemies provoked, and which 
his friends of themselves would never have proposed, 
that Mr. Pitt in his private station received a most 
signal mark of the public gratitude — an honour to 
which, under all its circumstances, it is not easy to 
find an adequate parallel in our own history or in any 

Before the close of the same month the friends of 





Mr. Pitt combined to show him another token of their 
affectionate respect. They had a great dinner on the 
28th, in celebration of his birth-day. Mr. Wilberforce 
appears to have been prevented by indisposition from 
remaining all through. But he went to see the prepa- 
rations, and he lias described the scene as follows in his 
journal : — ' May 28. At Merchant Taylors' Hall — grand 
celebration of Pitt's birth-day — Lord Spencer chairman 
— 823 tickets and people — near 200 more asked for. I 
withdrew, after walking about for an hour and seeing 
everybody, just as dinner going on table. All went off 
well. Pitt not there.' 

It was for this festival, and in relation to its object, 
that a celebrated and beautiful song by Mr. Canning 
was composed. Several times already has it appeared 
in print, but no biography of Pitt could be, I think, 
deemed complete which did not contain it. Here then 
it is : — 

The Pilot that weathered the Storm. 

If hushed the loud whirlwind that ruffled the deep, 

The sky if no longer dark tempests deform, 
When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep ? 

No — here's to the pilot that weathered 1 lie storm 1 

At the footstool of Power let Flattery fawn ; 

Let Faction her idols extol to the skies ; 
To Virtue in humble retirement withdrawn, 

Unblamed may the accents of gratitude rise I 

And shall not his memory to Britain be dear, 
Whose example with envy all nations behold ? 

A statesman unbiassed by int'rest or fear, 
By power uncorrupted, untainted by gold 1 

Who, when terror and doubt through the universe reigned, 
While rapine and treason their standards unfurled, 

The hearts and the hopes of his country maintained, 
And one kingdom preserved midst the wreck of the world ! 

Unheeding, unthankful, we bask in the blaze 

While the beams of the sun in full majesty shine ; 

\\ hen lie sinks into t wilight with fondness we gaze, 
And mark the mild lustre that gilds his decline. 

So, Pitt, when the course of thy greatness is o'er, 
Thy talents, thy virtues, we fondly recall ; 


Nam justly we prize thee, when lost we deplore ; 
Admired in thy zenith, but loved in thy fall. 

O ! take then — for dangers by wisdom repelled, 
For evils by courage and constanoy braved — 

O I take, for a throne by thy counsels upheld, 
The thanks of a people thy firmness has saved ! 

And 0! if again the rude whirlwind should rise, 

The dawning of peace should fresh darkness deform, 

The regrets of the good and the fears of the wise 
Shall turn to the pilot that weathered the storm. 

The Session was closed by a Speech from the King 
on the 28th of June, and next day the Parliament, 
which had now approached its Septennial period, was 
dissolved. Pitt had intended to come up from Walmer 
several days before. He writes to Addington on the 
24th, ' I shall be in town by five at latest on Sunday, 
and, if it continues convenient to you that our engage- 
ment should hold, I shall be very glad to take a quiet 
dinner with you at six. Perhaps, if you should have 
no particular use for your carriage and horses, you 
would let it be in Park Place a quarter before six to 
convey me.' 

Six, I may observe, in passing, appears, from other 
correspondence also, to have been at that time among 
the higher classes the usual, nay, the universal dinner- 

Pitt, however, was induced to prolong for two or 
three days his stay upon the coast, and he was then 
consulted by letter upon the terms of the Koyal Speech. 
This is shown by his reply to Addington, which Dean 
Pellew also produces : — 

Walmer Castle, June 26, 1802. 

• ••••• 

I lose no time in returning the draft of the Speech, which 
appears to me to be excellent, and to bear no marks either 
of the lamp or the night-cap. I have ventured, however, to 
attempt to heighten a little the principal tirade by a few 
verbal alterations, but chiefly by inserting, as shortly as pos- 
sible, two or three leading topics, which seem material enough 
to deserve particular notice. 

b 2 


In the General Election which now ensued Pitt had 
at least one seat at his disposal, as the following letter 
will evince : — 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Robert Ward. 

Park Place, June 28, 1802. 
Sir, — I wrote to Lord Mulgrave on Friday, from Walmer 
Castle, to mention to him that Lord Lowther had had the 
goodness to offer to name a Memher at my recommendation 
for the borough of Cockermouth for the first three years of 
the Parliament ; after which he wishes to reserve it for his 
nephew, Lord Burghersh. I also stated to him that I hoped 
to be released from the only claim which could prevent my 
having the satisfaction of proposing you to him as a candi- 
date, if it should be agreeable to you. The election will, I 
understand, be free from trouble, and from any but a very 
trifling expense ; and though less satisfactory than one for 
the whole Parliament, I am in hopes it will appear to you 
too eligible to decline. I have therefore thought it best, as 
Lord Mulgrave is out of town and as the time presses, to 
state these particulars to yourself. I am just setting out to 
Short drove, in my way to Cambridge ; and if you could 
] k issibly let me hear from you on the subject by to-day's post, 
1 shall be much obliged to you, as Lord Lowther is waiting 
mv answer. I am, Sir, your faithful and obedient servant, 
J W. Pitt. 

My direction for to-day's post is, Joseph Smith's, Esq., 
Short Grove, Saffron Walden ; and afterwards, Pembroke 
Hall, Cambridge. 

To explain the mention of Lord Mulgrave in the 
first line of this letter, it should he stated that Mr. 
Ward was his brother-in-law. 

The offer so kindly made was thankfully accepted, 
and in the new Parliament Mr. Ward became one of 
the Members for Cockermouth. He was a man of some 
note in politics, but much more in literature, and will 
chiefly be remembered by posterity as the author of 
' Trernaine.' 

The great popularity of the peace throughout the 
country was manifest in the elections which ensued. 


Neither the brilliant ability nor yet the local influence 
of Mr. Windham could save him from defeat at Nor- 
wich. He was compelled to take refuge at St. Mawes, 
a small borough under the nomination of Lord Buck- 

A letter of Mr. Pitt, from Bromley Hill, the house 
of his friend Mr. Long, gives his view of the general 
result of these elections : — 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Bromley Hill, July 10, 1802. 

Dear Rose, — I was sincerely glad to find that the election 
at Southampton passed in a manner which must have been 
so satisfactory to yourself and your son. You will have 
seen that ours at Cambridge was perfectly quiet ; and it was 
not only quiet, but attended with every mark of zeal and 
cordiality. I wish we had as good accounts of three or four 
other places where (as it has turned out) the Jacobins have 
triumphed, and in some instances unaccountably ; but upon 
the whole, I do not see anything likely materially to change 
the relative strength of parties, or the general complexion of 
the House. 

I am likely to be detained by different engagements near 
town for a week or ten days, and shall then return to Wal- 
mer Castle, where I shall be most delighted to see you when- 
ever you find it most convenient, and have a fair wind. I 
shall probably not go to Somersetshire till late in the 
autumn ; but I hope to find an opportunity of making a 
coasting voyage, and returning your visit in the course of 
the summer. If your sons are with you when you embark, 
I shall be very glad, if it suits them, to be of your party. I 
am going on extremely well, and expect to pass muster as a 
stout and able-bodied seaman by the time I see you. 

Ever yours, W. Pitt. 

Before his return to Walmer, Pitt appears also to 
have visited the Prime Minister at the Lodge of Rich- 
mond Park. A cordial confidence still, as we have seen, 
prevailed between them. The Presidency of the Board 
of Control becoming vacant at this period, and the post 
being offered to Lord Castlereagh, Pitt most warmly 


pressed its acceptance on his Noble Friend. Lord 
Castlereagh consented, and thus did the former Secre- 
tary for Ireland, in the brunt of all the Catholic claims, 
become, with the entire approval of Pitt, the Cabinet 
colleague of Addington. 

On the 2nd of July had died the veteran Colonel 
Barre, on whom, as will be recollected, Mr. Pitt had in 
1784 conferred the Clerkship of the Pells in exchange 
for a previous pension. The Pells were now, therefore, 
at Mr. Addington's disposal. He offered this rich sine- 
cure in the first place to Pitt's friend, Mr. Steele, who 
declined it. Next he said to the retired Minister him- 
self that he (Mr. Pitt) would ' much gratify the feel- 
ings of the public if he would consent to take the office.' 
Pitt at once, in a most becoming spirit, gave an answer 
in the negative. That decision, we may observe, was 
not perhaps in complete accordance with the opinion of 
all his friends. In view of his much embarrassed affairs 
we find that Bishop Tomline wrote as follows a year 
before : — * I own I do not see any great objection to 
Mr. Pitt having a second sinecure place, provided it 
comes directly from the King.' l 

The office thus declined by Pitt was then conferred 
by Addington on his own son Henry, a boy of sixteen. 
Dean Pellew gives an extract to show that Pitt entirely 
approved of this appointment. For Pitt writes to Ad- 
dington on the 29th of July : — ' I rejoice most sincerely 
that you have found it practicable to dispose of the 
Pells as you have done. Under all the circumstances 
it is infinitely preferable to any other use you could 
make of it.' 2 There are some persons, however, who 
may still be inclined to prefer the example of Mr. Pitt 
in 1784 to his precept in 1802. 

Paris was at that time thronged with English visitors. 
At the conclusion of the Peace Lord Whitworth had 
been sent over as the representative of England. Ever 

1 The Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose, July 21, 1801. 

2 Life of Lord Sidmouth, note at vol. i. p. 4 ;>'•». 


since, and especially at the close of the General Elec- 
tion, both the ambassador and his consort, the Duchess 
Dowager of Dorset, were busily employed in presenta- 
tions. Party after party of their travelling country- 
men desired, with natural curiosity, to see the Consular 
Court. Among all these the foremost was Mr. Fox. 
He had gone to Paris accompanied by his former mis- 
tress, Mrs. Armistead, whom now, for the first time, he 
publicly owned for his wife, a secret marriage between 
them having been contracted seven years before. 1 None 
of the many thronging visitors appear to have viewed 
France with such unqualified approval. Here is one of 
Mr. Rogers's notes : — ' I said in one respect the French 
had the advantage of us. He (Mr. Fox) said, indeed 
in almost every respect.' 2 

In this mood of mind it was natural that Fox should 
be closely drawn to the First Consul. With him he had 
several interviews, and was received with many tokens 
of honour and esteem. 

Many years later Napoleon at St. Helena recalled 
these conversations with Fox, and expressed his high 
regard for him. * Whenever,' said Napoleon, ' I wished 
to stir him, I talked of the Machine Infernale, and I 
told him that the Ministers of England had attemp- 
ted my assassination. Here he used to contradict me 
warmly, and he always ended by saying, in his faulty 
French, Premier Consul, otez vous done cela de votre 
tete.' 3 

The reception of Mr. Erskine, at least in the first 
instance, was not quite so satisfactory. He had gone 
to Paris no doubt in the full belief that all France was 
ringing with his high forensic fame ; but when he was 
presented at the Tuileries, he was greeted by the First 

1 See his letter 1o Lord Lauderdale of July 28, 1802, the clay 
before he commenced his journey. 

2 Rogers's Recollections, p. 24, the date of this conversation being 
Paris, Oct. 24, 1802. 

3 Journal de V Em per cur NcupoUon a Stc. IltTene, par Las Casas, 
vol. iv. p. 171, ed. 1823. 


Consul with the ' killing question ' (as a gentleman pre- 
sent not unaptly terms it), Etes vous legiste ? ' 

But while courtesies were passing between the First 
Consul and some of his visitors at Paris, clouds had 
already risen between him and the Ministers in Eng- 
land. His aggressive designs, more especially upon 
Piedmont and Switzerland, were scarcely any longer 
concealed. He had taken forcible possession of the 
island of Elba, and compelled the cession to France of 
Louisiana and the two Floridas. So early as the 8th 
of April, Mr. Pitt, happening to join Lord Malmesbury 
on horseback in Hyde Park, avowed his serious appre- 
hensions. He had thought (he said) at the time of 
the Preliminaries that Bonaparte would rest satisfied 
with the power and reputation which he had acquired. 
Now, however, he was giving fresh proofs of his insa- 
tiable ambition. ' Still,' said Mr. Pitt, ' I do not regret 
having spoken in favour of the Peace. It had become 
a necessary measure ; and rest for England, however 

short, is desirable But we should take care to 

make Bonaparte see we are prepared It should 

be made evident to him that England will submit to no 
insult, nor suffer any injury.' 2 

On the other hand General Bonaparte had, as he 
conceived, several strong grounds of complaint against 
the English Government. We still kept possession of 
Malta, the conditions on the other side not having been 
fulfilled. We did not expel the emigrants from Jersey, 
as the First Consul required us to do. We did not, as he 
also wished, ask the Princes of the House of Bourbon 
to leave England. We did not arrest the freedom of 
the English press even when it sent forth, as was too 
frequently the case, offensive and personal attacks on 
General Bonaparte himself. The First Consul was stirred 
above all by the writings of Jean Peltier. This was a 

1 Trotter's Memoirs of Fox, p. 268, ed. 1811. Mr. Trotter was 
himself present. 

2 Diwries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 64. 

1802 JEAN PELTIER. 57 

French gentleman of Eoyalist opinions, who had resided 
several years in London, and who had begun to publish 
since the peace a new French paper called VAmbigu. 
Some of his articles were not only extreme, but even, 
it may be said, flagitious. Thus, in one place he draws 
a parallel between Bonaparte and Caesar, and refers in 
approving terms to ' the poniard in the hands of the 
last Eomans!' In another place, still pursuing his 
classical allusions, he predicts that Bonaparte will one 
day be elected Emperor, and wishes that he may find 
on the morrow ' the apotheosis of Romulus ! ' Such 
passages might be fairly construed as a direct encou- 
ragement to his assassination. 

But independently of such shameful articles — inde- 
pendently even of Jean Peltier himself, and of other 
French writers in London— the general licence of the 
English press in its comments on the Consular Govern- 
ment became the subject of repeated diplomatic repre- 
sentations. In vain did the English Ministers declare 
that they had read the publications of Peltier with the 
utmost displeasure. In vain did they promise that legal 
proceedings against him should be taken by the Attor- 
ney-General. In vain did they explain that the law of 
England only gave authority to punish, and not at all 
to prevent or anticipate a libel. The French Govern- 
ment continued to insist that England was bound, what- 
ever might be her particular law and constitution, and 
even at the risk of having to re-model them, to put an 
end to a deep and continued system of defamation car- 
ried on in her capital, and directed against the chief of 
the neighbouring Republic. 

It must be owned, I think, that if on this subject 
of defamation Lord Hawkesbury had desired to make a 
counter-charge, the materials for it were by no means 
wanting. To counterbalance the Ambigu in London, 
there had been set on foot the Argus at Paris. As the 
former was in French and conducted by the emigrant 
Royalists, so was the latter in English and conducted 


by the fugitives of Republican principles from England 
and Ireland. It may well be conceived that these two 
papers, unlike in all besides, vied with each other in the 
most rancorous vituperation. 

Arcades ambo — id est, Blackguards both ! 

But further still, and at this very time, the Moniteur 
— a paper not, like Peltier's, quite unauthorized, but on 
the contrary, under direct Government control — charged 
the Ministers of England with inviting and honouring 
assassination. They had been parties, it seems, to the 
plot against the life of the First Consul. ' Georges ' — 
so said the Moniteur — ' wears openly in London his red 
riband as a reward for the Machine Infernale, which 
destroyed part of Paris and put to death thirty women, 
children, and peaceful citizens. Does not this special 
protection authorize us in believing that if he had 
succeeded he would have received the Order of the 
Garter?' 1 

On the whole, then, towards the close of July M. 
Otto sent in a note to Lord Hawkesbury, stating again 
and at length his grounds of complaint on the subject 
of the Jersey emigrants, of the Bourbon Princes, and 
of the licentious press, and on these and similar cases 
founding six distinct demands. The reply of Lord 
Hawkesbury was firm in its substance, although for- 
bearing in its tone. He explained and vindicated the 
liberty of the press as it existed in England, and added 
that we could not consent to change our law and con- 
stitution to gratify the wishes of any foreign Power. 
And as to the proposed expulsion of the emigrants, his 
language was not less decided. The French Govern- 
ment (he said) must have formed a most erroneous 
judgment of the temper of the British nation if they 
imagined that we would ever consent to violate those 
rig) its on which our liberties are founded. 

1 The whole pa ssa ■>' is translated and inserted in Mr. Adolphus's 
History, voL vii. p. 6 Hi. 

1802 PITT AT WALMER. 59 

I shall have occasion only too soon to trace the 
further progress of these lamentable jealousies and 
differences, which contained within them the seeds of 
coming war. At present I desire only to record their 
origin and outset. 

Durinjr the rest of the summer and autumn Mr. Pitt 
continued to reside at Walmer Castle. His familiar 
letters show the great pleasure that he took in his quiet 
country life. Thus he writes to Dundas on the 5th of 
September : — 

I have been gaining a great deal of health and strength 
by riding and sailing ; and am delighted more than ever 
with my residence here. I am just now in the midst of par- 
tridge-shooting ; and am preparing to enter on a beautiful 
farm, which I have taken in the neighbourhood, and which 
will furnish me with constant occupation till Parliament 

And thus on the same day to Addington : — 

I should be very glad to show you all the improvements 

of this place, both in beauty and comfort My new 

farm (if Parliament fortunately can be deferred till after 
Christmas) will keep me constantly employed for the re- 
mainder of the year, or till the pacificator of Europe takes it 
into his head to send an army from the opposite coast to 
revenge himself for some newspaper paragraph. 

There is no reason at all to doubt that Mr. Pitt at 
Walmer Castle really felt the cheerfulness and content 
which his letters express. It would not be inconsistent 
with that general frame of mind if now and then there 
did come over him some little feeling of languor in his 
calm retreat, or some short aspiration after the more 
active scenes which he had left behind. The experience 
of history proves that thoughts like these will some- 
times, though almost it may be said unconsciously, arise. 
They will pass, like summer clouds, over the retired 
years, at least in early manhood, of men who have 
played an important part in the world's affairs. They 
will have that effect which one of them, though of far 


inferior note, John Wilkes, in one of his letters hitherto 
unpublished, has happily described : ' I remember 
Diderot wrote to me two years ago : Ami Wilkes, que 
faites vous ? Si vous reposez, vous etes bien a plaiiidre. 
I do not sleep — shall I say ? — on my laurels.' 1 

Later in the same month, however, Mr. Pitt had a 
severe attack of illness. It is mentioned as follows in 
a letter from his friend and physician, Sir Walter Far- 
quhar. I derive it from a copy which I found among 
the Pitt Papers, but I cannot tell how it came there, nor 
does it appear to whom it was addressed. 

Ramsgate, Sept. 24, 1802. 

My deai- Sir, — Upon my return home last night I found 
your letter. I don't wonder at your anxiety, but I am 
na PPy that I had the power of relieving you. 

The alarming symptoms, it is true, did not last very 
long, but minutes in such a situation I found long hours. 
The day is our own now, and the last battle proves that the 
mainsprings are good. I become more and more interested 
about the first of human beings, and at last I have carried 
the point I have so long wished to accomplish — I mean the 
Bath Waters. Mr. Pitt is to go there about the month of 
November. Believe me, &c, Walter Farquiiak. 

Pitt, however, makes very light of his own illness 
in a letter designed to meet his mother's eye. 

Mr. Pitt to Mrs. Stcquleton. 

Walmer Castlo, Sept. 17, 1802. 
Dear Mrs. Stapleton, — As report might possibly carry to 
Burton an exaggerated account of my having been unwell, 
I know it will lie a satisfaction to yourself, as well as to my 
mother, to know the truth from myself. I have, in fact, 
been plagued a good deal for a few days from a bilious at- 
tack, which, I believe, was brought on partly by a sudden 
change of weather, and partly by a little over-exercise in 

1 This MS. let lor is dated Ausr. 20, 1778. It will be found in 
"IK' of the last places where a reader mighl have looked Eor ii 
pasted in the seventeenth volume of an illustrated copy of Byron 
which extends to forty-four volumes, and which was purchased for 
the British .Museum in 1860. 

1802 HIS ILLNESS. 61 

shooting. By the aid, however, of my friend Sir Walter, 
who happens to be at present taking some holidays at Rams- 
gate, the complaint is taking its leave, and I have no doubt 
of being in a day or two as well and as sti-ong as I have 
happily found myself (with this slight exception) ever since 
I came here in the beginning of the summer. Sir Walter 
tells me he has received late accounts from Burton, which 
are tolerably good. I heartily hope you will be enabled to 
confirm them. Hester arrived here yesterday in her way to 
join her travelling friends at Dover. I hope to enjoy the 
pleasure of her society, at all events, till Monday ; and, per- 
haps, if the winds are contrary, some days longer. Pray 
give my duty and love to my mother, and remember me 
affectionately to Harriet. Ever, dear Mrs. Stapleton, affec- 
tionately yours, W. Pitt. 

The ' Hester ' to whom Pitt here refers was his eldest 
niece. And this brings me to some scenes of personal 
dissension on which — as painful to myself, and as unin- 
teresting to the public — I desire to touch as lightly as I 
can. The great unkindness of Lord Stanhope had by 
degrees estranged from him all the members of his 
family. His unmarried daughter, and subsequently 
also his three sons by his second marriage, left his 

Lady Hester Stanhope took her departure from Che- 
vening early in the year 1800, and went to reside with 
her grandmother at Burton Pynsent. In the autumn 
of 1802 she joined her friends Mr. and Mrs. Egerton, of 
Cheshire, in a journey to the Continent, and she con- 
tinued abroad with them until their return in the 
summer of next year. 

In the course of the next month Pitt received several 
other visits at Walmer Castle. First came Mr. Canning, 
and after he had gone Lord Grenville ; and probably 
there were others also. 

Mr. Canning subsequently repeated to Lord Malmes- 
bury the conversations which had passed. But I think 
it perfectly plain that in this hearsay account as put 
down by Lord Malmesbury some errors have crept in. 


Mr. Pitt is represented as saying that * he had pledged 
himself, hut himself singly, to advise and support the 
present Ministry. This pledge he considered as solemnly 
binding, not redeemable by any lapse of time, nor 
ever to be cancelled without the express consent of 
Mr. Addington.' 1 Now, in the first place, it is utterly 
inconceivable that any Parliamentary statesman could 
pledge himself in this absolute manner to any other 
statesman irrespective of the measures which that other 
statesman might pursue. Secondly, it is to be noted 
that Mr. Pitt, whose personal honour is not impeached, 
acted before the close of this very year in direct contra- 
vention of this imaginary pledge. Thirdly, we must 
observe that even when most assailed, Mr. Addington 
neither in public nor in private alleged any such 
compact, as he certainly would have done had any such 
compact in truth existed. 

I hold it, therefore, as beyond dispute, that Mr. Pitt's 
promise of support to Addington on taking office was 
regarded on both sides as promises in such a case have 
ever been — conditional and dependent on the future 
course of Ministerial policy. 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 75. 

1802 63 



French annexations — Want of confidence in Addington's adminis- 
tration — Conspiracy of Colonel Despard — Letter from the Duke 
of Orleans — Pitt's residence at Bath — His political visitors — 
Pitt advises naval and. military preparations — Scheme for rein- 
stating him in office — Discountenanced by him — He declines to 
give further advice to Ministers— Opening of the New Parlia- 
ment — Great speeches of Sheridan and Canning — Pitt on the 
state of the country — Pitt assailed in the Times — The Budget — 
Elevation of Dundas to the Peerage — Lord Castlereagh at Bath 
— Pitt returns to London — His interview with Addington. 

During the summer and autumn of 1802 the English 
people continued to enjoy and to exult in the blessings 
of peace. The arrival of General Andreossy as ambas- 
sador was hailed as a new pledge of re-established 
amity. But it was not long ere sinister rumours again 
arose. It was known how hostile to England was still 
the tone of many men of influence at Paris. It was 
known how the great Consul chafed at the intrigues 
of the French emigrants and the personalities of the 
English press. It was known that, though his com- 
plaints had been answered, his dissatisfaction was not 

Nor, on the other hand, could the English public 
view without growing apprehensions the continued 
system of territorial aggrandisement which the French 
Government pursued. In August there went forth a 
Decree or Considte of the Senate annexing to France 
the isle of Elba. In September there was another 
Senatii8-Consulte annexing the entire of Piedmont, and 
leaving to the King of Sardinia only the island of that 
name. In October there came the occupation of the 
Duchies of Parma and Placentia upon the death of the 
last Grand Duke. At nearly the same time, moreover, 
Switzerland being distracted by a civil conflict, a French 
army of forty thousand men, commanded by General 


Ney, was marched into that country. General Bona- 
parte, who in France had recently by a vote of the 
people been named Consul for life, with an extension of 
his already vast authority, was in due course proclaimed 
also ' Mediator of the Swiss Republic,' and exerted a 
decisive influence on its affairs. 

The concentration of so much power in the single 
hands of General Bonaparte might no doubt in the 
eyes of the French people be excused by his wonderful 
genius and energy, which no man denied ; but other 
nations are not to be blamed if they saw in these only 
an aggravation of the danger. 

Under such circumstances the more reflecting and 
far-sighted among English politicians began seriously to 
doubt whether another appeal to arms could be long 
averted. They regretted not to hear of any adequate 
measures for precaution and defence. They asked 
themselves whether Addington was really the right man 
to steer the vessel of the state if a tempest should arise. 
Lord Malmesbury, who from May to October had tra- 
velled in divers parts of England and conversed with 
many persons, has recorded in his journal the anxious 
feelings that he heard expressed. Two men in high 
office, the Duke of Portland and Lord Glenbervie, held 
language to him that went to reprobate rather than 
defend the conduct of the administration to which 
they belonged. * And,' adds Lord Malmesbury, ' strong 
symptoms of its weakness and of the want of confi- 
dence of the country began to show themselves.' ' 

Meanwhile, however, the tranquillity of England in 
its home affairs was only ruffled by a strange conspi- 
racy of Colonel Edward Marcus Despard. This officer, 
an Irishman by birth, had served his King with fidelity 
and honour for thirty years. At the time of the Nootka 
Sound affair, he had held a command in Honduras ; 
but some part of his conduct being open to reprehen- 
sion, he was suspended and sent home. There, a dit-ap- 

1 Diaries, Sec, vol. i v. p. 7 I. 


pointed and a soured man, he renounced his allegiance, 
and engaged in traitorous projects against the State. 

These projects were soon, at least in some part, 
revealed. Colonel Despard, being arrested on suspicion, 
was immured for three years in the prison of Cold 
Bath Fields. His treatment during his captivity was 
on several occasions complained of and discussed in the 
House of Commons. On his release it appeared that 
his temper was inflamed by a sense of his pretended 
wrongs. It is probable that his intellect also was in 
some degree disordered. He began to frequent low 
ale-houses in London, and to league himself with some 
of the vilest of mankind. In conjunction with these 
he formed a plot, cemented by an oath of secrecy, for 
murdering the King and Eoyal Family, and seizing the 
Tower, the Bank, and other public offices. 

The idea of Colonel Despard was secretly to load 
with ball the great gun in St. James's Park — to sur- 
round it by a band of the conspirators when the King 
should go to open Parliament in November — and to 
discharge the deadly missiles at the Eoyal carriage 
as it passed. One conspirator, more humane than his 
fellows, observed that the lives of many other persons 
wholly innocent would be thereby destroyed, but the 
Colonel answered coolly, ' Let them keep out of the 
way ! ' 

But others of the gang betrayed him. The Ministers 
received timely notice of his whole design, and took 
their measures accordingly. On the 20th of November, 
three days before the King was to go down and open 
Parliament, a strong party of the London, Surrey, and 
Kent patrols surrounded the Oakley Arms, a small 
public-house in Lambeth. There they seized the Colonel 
with thirty-two of his confederates — all men of the 
lowest class. In the February following Despard was 
brought to trial. He was ably defended by Mr. Best, 
afterwards Chief Justice and Lord Wynford. Some 
witnesses of the first rank — among others, Sir Alured 



Clarke and Lord Nelson — deposed to his former high 
character and honourable services. But the evidence 
of his plot was clear and positive, and he was found 
Guilty. Finally, Colonel Despard was hanged, in com- 
pany with six others left for execution as the worst of 
his wretched gang. 

In the latter part of October Mr. Pitt fulfilled his 
promise to Sir Walter Farquhar, and set out for Bath. 
Just then he had acquired a new residence in London. 
His term of the house in Park Place having ended, he 
had taken another as small, No. 14, York Place, Port- 
man Square. York Place, though it bears that name, 
is in fact only a continuation of Baker Street. Accus- 
tomed as Pitt was to Downing Street and Whitehall, 
he must have felt some economy indeed, but consider- 
able inconvenience, in a situation so far removed from 
the House of Commons. 

On his way from London to Bath Mr. Pitt paid a 
passing visit at Richmond to Mr. Addington, who has 
described it as follows in a letter to his brother Hiley : — 
' Pitt dined and slept here on Sunday (the 24th) on his 
way to Bath. He has no symptoms of illness ; very 
slight traces of it in his looks, and none whatever in his 
appetite and spirits.' 

So great was the space which Mr. Pitt continued at 
this period to fill in the public eye, that even while out 
of office he received such communications as might 
have been, we should imagine, more naturally addressed 
to his successor. Thus during this very journey from 
W aimer, the Duke of Orleans, at a later period King 
Louis Philippe, made an attempt to see him in York 
Place; but having mistaken the day, and thereby 
missed the interview which he desired, the Duke wrote 
to Mr. Pitt a remarkable letter. Here follow its prin- 
cipal passages in their original English, showing how 
great a proficiency in our language His Most Serene 
Highness had attained. 


The Duke of Orleans to Mr. Pitt. 

Twickenham, Oct. 18, 1802. 

Sir, — Upon a false report that you was in town, I called 
this morning at your house in York Place to request an in- 
terview with you. My object was to disclose some ideas 
suggested by the present state of Europe, and particularly by 

that of Switzerland Its importance as a military post 

is generally felt at present. Indeed, it commands the mili- 
tary operations in Germany, France, and Italy ; and in my 
opinion the possession of it by the French has been one of 
the principal causes which brought about the battle of Ma- 
rengo, and all the following disasters. If you think it worth 
your w T hile afterwards, I will very willingly explain, as I 
conceive it, what advantages might result from the possession 
of it by the Allies to carry on the war wherever they choose, 
and especially in France, which lies open on that side, be- 
cause neither Louis the Fourteenth nor Vauban ever thought 
of defending that part of the frontier, never thinking the 
neutrality of Switzerland could be disregarded and infringed. 
My object at present is only to point out to your sagacity 
some means of protecting Switzerland efficaciously, and to 
offer my services for that purpose. 

The Swiss are in want of money, arms, and ammunition, 
&c. But, above all, they are in want of a pledge that their 
country will not fall a prey to those who will assist them 
against the French ; and they want some sort of tie to keep 
their councils together, and maintain the vigour of their re- 
sistance by the preservation of unanimity. I am afraid pro- 
clamations would be unequal to persuade them that Austiia 
will not possess itself of their country. A good and inde- 
pendent Swiss army, led by a man in the interest of England 
and Austria, and not obnoxious to themselves, seems to me 
to be the best pledge and the b st tie, and at the same time 
the most powerful assistance against France, that can be ob- 
tained from Switzerland. It appears difficult that its leader 
could be a Swiss. They have amongst themselves neither 
Princes nor men of high rank to assume that superiority over 
his countrymen which is necessary to keep them united 
against the common enemy, to smother discord at home, and 
create respect abroad. In former times the Dutch were de- 
fended by Prince Maurice of Nassau against their lawful 

f 2 


Sovereign and the Duke of Alva, his representative, and had 
it not been for him, it is probable they had been overpowered. 
This, Sir, is the part I should be ambitious to act for Switzer- 
land against its tyrants, and for Europe against its oppres- 
sors. I offer myself with confidence to you, because I be- 
lieve my situation and relations are uniques for this noble 
object. The honour I have of being descended from those 
Kings who have been the protectors of the Swiss, and whom 
the Swiss have so long and so faithfully guarded, would 
make me popular amongst them. I can speak their language, 
and I have lived two years among them, part of which I was 
wandering in their mountains without any fixed abode ; so 
that I am not quite a stranger to their country and manners. 

With respect to my family, I find myself in that particu- 
lar situation which I need not describe to you, Sir, but which 
must render me faithful to the interests of Europe, because 
it must make me anxious of opening for myself some career 
elsewhere than in France, where I see too many shoals to 
steer a proper course, and to keep on that line of honour and 
of integrity from which I hope never to depart. 

I am neither English nor Austrian. I am a natural 
enemy to Bonaparte, and to all similar Governments, with 
whom I never can be reconciliated : therefore I cannot be 
obnoxious to the Swiss, and must be above suspicion. Still, 
by my extraordinary situation, England and Austria can find 
in me all the advantages of my being a French Prince, with- 
out the inconveniences arising from that quality 

Dispose of me, Sir, and show me the way ; I will follow it. 
I have the honour to be, Sir, with the highest consideration, 
your most affectionate L. P. d'Orl£ans. 

I know not what answer may have been returned to 
this overture, nor whether any step of any kind was 
taken in consequence of it ; but I find that three years 
afterwards the Duke made to the British Government 
another tender of his ' military services,' which the 
Government respectfully declined as inconsistent with 
' the established rules of the British service.' ' 

Meanwhile Mr. Pitt had continued his journey to 

1 See Lord Castlereagh's answer, dated Oct. 5, 1805, in his pub- 
lished Correspondence, vol. viii. p. 9, ed. 1851. 


Bath. On reaching his destination he took a house in 
Pulteney Street, and began to drink those waters to 
which his father had so often resorted, but which until 
then he had never tried. He was cheered by the pre- 
sence at Bath of his friends Lord Camden and Lord 
Carrington ; and ere long there came also Lord Malmes- 
bury and Lord Mulgrave. 

Other politicians sometimes went to Bath for a day 
or two, on purpose to confer with him. Such was the 
case, for example, with Hiley Addington, who arrived 
on the 6th of November, and at his brother's request. 
Pitt explained to him at length his views of foreign 
politics, which, indeed, he was always revolving in his 
mind; and on the 11th he wrote himself to the Prime 
Minister with his matured and final counsel : ' On the 
general state of things I can form very little judgment. 
But I rather fear, from the accounts from the Continent, 
that there is very little prospect of your meeting with 
any effectual support from thence at present either in 
an attempt to save Switzerland or for any other useful 
purpose. If this should be the case, I own that on 
reflection I doubt very much the prudence, though not 
at all the justice, of risking at all hazards the deter- 
mination of withholding such of the restitutions as have 
not yet taken place. And having conceived this doubt, 
I feel anxious just to state it to you, because I certainly 
was very strongly inclined to the contrary opinion, both 
when I conversed with you and as late as when I saw 
your brother on his way to town.' Mr. Pitt then goes 
on to advise that we should rather — and he underlines 
the words — 'content ourselves with a state of very 
increased and constant preparation, both naval and 

It is worthy of note that the advice of Mr. Pitt in 
this communication was implicitly and promptly adopted 
by the Government. On the 7th of October Lord Hobart 
had written instructions for the retention of the Cape of 
Good Hope. On the 16th of November, only five days 


after Pitt's letter from Bath, an order for its restitution 
was sent out. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Bath, Nov. 7, 1802. 
Dear Rose, — ........ 

I had been meaning to write to you to tell you what I 
know you will be glad to hear, that I am much the better 
for my visit hither . . . , and you would make me very 
happy if you can let me have the satisfaction of seeing you 
while I am here. There are many points too long for a 
letter which I shall be very glad if we meet to talk over with 
you. I mean to go on Thursday to my mother's, but shall 
return here in time for my afternoon's draught of the waters 
on Saturday, and from thence shall continue here till the 

business of the Session calls me to town Perhaps 

even the circumstances may be such as to make me doubt 
about going at all before Christmas. . . . 

Ever sincerely yours, 

W. Pitt. 

On the 13th Mr. Eose did accordingly arrive at 
Bath, and had some political conversation that same 
evening when quite alone with Mr. Pitt. He stated 
some strong arguments against the course respecting 
Switzerland which the Ministers had begun to pursue. 
Mr. Rose clearly saw, however, that if his chief did go 
up to town for the King's Speech on the 23rd, as Mr. 
Pitt then designed, he would — partly on a point of 
honour as having been consulted — express his full appro- 
bation of the foreign policy of Addington. That he 
should so far and so prematurely commit himself seemed 
to Mr. Rose most strongly to be deprecated. Therefore, 
as he says, ' I used all the means in my power to dis- 
suade him from attending the House of Commons on 
the day of the opening of the Session. He discussed 
the matter with me temperately, but came to no deter- 
mination. He told me Lord Rathurst, who was here a 
few days ago, had expressed the same wish without 
Baying why, or entering into any reasons for it.' 1 

1 Diaries, &c, of Mr. Rose, vol. i. p. 487. 


Exactly similar were the entreaties which the retired 
Minister at the same time received from Bishop Tomline. 
' I wish to apprise you,' so writes the Bishop to Eose, 
' that I wrote a very strong letter to Mr. Pitt last 
Monday. ... I begged that he would stay at Bath, for 
which his health afforded a sufficient reason, and wait 
to see what turn things will take. I told him also, 
which I am sure is true, that by giving his unqualified 
support to the present Ministry, he would lose the con- 
fidence of the country.' 1 

On the 14th, and again on the loth, Eose renewed 
in earnest terms his discussion with Pitt. ' It ended,' 
he tells us, ' in a positive assurance from Mr. Pitt that 
he would not go to London, and in my promising to 
remain here with him, with which he declared himself 
to be perfectly satisfied. Mr. Pitt, however, said he 
could not avoid going to London for the Votes for the 
Army and Navy, if there should be the least difficulty 
about a large peace establishment.' 

There were some other friends of Mr. Pitt less tran- 
quil than these at Bath. There were some who were 
chafing at his continued exclusion from office, and who 
panted for prompt measures to restore him. Mr. Can- 
ning, above all, formed at this time a scheme which, 
prepossessed though I am in favour of its object, I think 
not defensible in all its circumstances, and only to be 
in part excused by youth and ardour of mind. 

The plan of Mr. Canning was to send an Address, 
as he had already prepared it, to Mr. Addington, and a 
copy of it at the same time to Mr. Pitt. It was to be 
signed, if possible, by several persons of great political 
weight. It was to represent to Mr. Addington the 
increasing dangers of the country, and urge upon him, 
though in most friendly terms, that ' the administration 
of the Grovernment be replaced in the hands of Mr. Pitt.' 

Combined with Mr. Canning in this project were 
three friends of his own age and standing in politics, 

1 Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose, Buckden, Nov. 11, 1802. 


Lord Granville Leveson, Lord Morpeth, and Mr. Sturges 
Bourne. But it was countenanced and aided by a man 
of much more years and influence, Lord Malmesbury. 
Early in November, and at the request of Canning, 
Lord Malmesbury waited upon the Duke of York at the 
Horse Guards, and told him what was going on. The 
remarks of the Duke were very frank and sensible. He 
said among other things : ' Mr. Pitt must come in ; it 
is impossible he should not ; the public call for him ; 

they will force Mr. Addington to give way But 

as to this address of yours, I doubt if it will do. I fear 
Mr. Addington is too vain to appreciate justly either the 
limits of his own abilities or the extent of the danger. 
Some of his friends, however, are more awake to both. 
I have reason to believe that Lord Auckland and Lord 
Hobart are prepared to withdraw from him. If Addington 
sees this, he will perhaps be frightened into resignation.' 

In the further progress of Mr. Canning's scheme there 
was considerable difficulty. The signatures of Pittites 
only — of known and personal friends of Mr. Pitt — would 
be of no avail. Other persons of rank and influence were 
not found very ready to sign, or at least to take the lead 
in signing. Under these circumstances there occurred 
to Mr. Canning a new and strange device. He proposed 
that the paper should be sent unsigned, and with a 
Preface or Praoscript as follows : — ' It is thought to be 
most respectful to Mr. Addington and Mr. Pitt that the 
enclosed paper should be transmitted to them without 
the signatures, which are ready to be affixed to it.' 1 

This expedient, however, was by no means satisfac- 
tory to the other persons engaged in the project. It 
was accordingly laid aside, and the canvass, as it may be 
called, for signatures was resumed. 

It had been designed that the project until its execu- 
tion should be kept a profound secret from Mr. Pitt. 
But it was found no easy matter to leave in utter igno- 
rance the principal person concerned. Canning himself 

1 Diaries, &c, of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 103. 


went down to Bath for one night on the 17th. He de- 
sired to confer with his chief on other points of politics. 
To his own scheme he alluded only in the most general 
and guarded terms. At his departure he left Lord 
Malmeshury at liberty to tell or not to tell the whole, as 
he might be questioned, or as in his discretion he might 
deem best. Meanwhile, however, Lord Mulgrave arriv- 
ing at Bath for a longer stay made known the entire 
project to Pitt. 

Thus fully apprised, Pitt at once interfered and put 
down the scheme. He called on Lord Malmesbury at 
half-past eight one Sunday morning — it was the 21st of 
November — and entered immediately upon the subject. 
' I know,' he began, ' you are one in a plot not quite so 
desperate as Colonel Despard's ;' and then he went on 
to state his grounds of objection to it. 'It proceeds,' 
he said, ' from persons all in the same predicament — 
all considered as too much attached to me, and too 
inimical to Mr. Addington. A measure originating with 
and arranged by persons of this description, and these 
so few, would look like a plot or cabal. Whether I 
really did or did not know of it, tbere would most cer- 
tainly be the suspicion that I had at least connived ; 
and such a suspicion, independent of my feelings, would 
defeat the end of my coming into office, even supposing 
any good could result from it. It is therefore my wish 
— one which I expressed to Canning before he left 
Bath, and in which on reflection I have been confirmed 
more and more — that no further canvass should be 
made for names, supporters, or signatures to promote 
or compel Mr. Addington's resignation. If my coming 
into office is as generally desired as you suppose it, it 
is much better for me and for the thing itself to leave 
that opinion to work out its own way : and this must 
happen if the opinion is a prevailing one in the public 
mind ; and if it is not, my coming into office at all is 
useless and improper.' 

In reply Lord Malmesbury argued the question a 


little further, but at last acquiesced. Letters from him 
and also from Mr. Pitt himself went to Mr. Canning, and 
in compliance with Pitt's positive injunction the entire 
project was dropped. 

On another point at the same time Malmesbury and 
Canning found their chief more amenable. They 
earnestly pressed upon him the ill effect which had 
ensued in several cases from the reports of the advice 
which he had given to the Ministers. It is easy to 
perceive why this should be so, without imputing on that 
account the smallest blame to Addington, to Hawkes- 
bury, or to any other person. When Pitt was consulted, 
only the most material papers were laid before him, and 
on these his opinion was formed. Then there might 
subsequently come to light other facts which had not at 
first sight seemed so important, and yet which might 
greatly modify his view. Then again his opinion might 
be sometimes alleged as in favour of a plan of policy, 
when in fact the plan which he approved had since on 
discussion in the Cabinet undergone some change in its 
details, and was no longer quite the same as had been 
laid before him. 

On this point Pitt was convinced. ' While I remain 
here at Bath,' he said, ' I shall decline to give any 
advice at all.' That very day (the 17th) he had, as it 
chanced, received in the morning a letter from Lord 
Hawkesbury which enclosed despatches on the matters 
then depending with France, and which entreated his 
opinion on the whole subject. Mr. Pitt replied in con- 
formity with his new determination. He wrote to his 
Noble Friend that it was impossible for him to judge 
with safety or precision of such a weighty issue by any 
information that could be communicated at the distance 
they were from each other. l 

It seems to me that on this point Mr. Pitt's deter- 
mination was perfectly right and wise. I should say, 

1 On this Hawkesbury consultation compare the Diaries of Mr. 
Rose (vol. i. p. 489) and of Lord Malmesbury (vol. iv. p. 110). 


from my observation of politics, that a statesman in 
office can never long continue to consult a statesman 
out of office with mutual satisfaction and to the public 
advantage, except in the single case when the statesman 
out of office has explicitly and finally renounced any idea 
of himself returning to power. 

The new Parliament had met on the 16th, but the 
first days were consumed in electing Mr. Abbot Speaker, 
and in swearing in the new Members. On the 23rd the 
King went down and delivered the opening Speech. 
His Majesty expressed his joy at the late abundant 
harvest, and at the state, ' flourishing beyond example,' 
of the manufactures, commerce, and revenue. He ex- 
horted the two Houses to 'maintain the true principles 
of the Constitution in Church and State,' — an allusion, 
as some persons deemed it, to the .Roman Catholic 
claims. 1 And on external affairs the King's words were 
as follows : ' In my intercourse with Foreign Powers, I 
have been actuated by a sincere disposition for the 
maintenance of peace. It is nevertheless impossible for 
me to lose sight of that established and wise system of 
policy by which the interests of other States are con- 
nected with our own ; and I cannot, therefore, be 
indifferent to any material change in their relative 
condition and strength.' And His Majesty went on to 
state his conviction that under these circumstances some 
* means of security ' were ' incumbent upon us.' 

Next day, at Bath, in reading over the King's Speech 
with Lord Malmesbury, Pitt remarked that it was very 
vague and loose, full of true statements that admitted 
any application. But still less was he pleased with a 
sentence which followed the one last cited. It referred 
to the necessity of providing for the various branches 
of the public service, ' which,' the King added, ' it is a 

1 ' They have put Church and State into the Speech ; I think I 
guess why: ' so wrote Mr. Canning from London. 'It could only be 
to revive what led to Mr. Pitt going out of office ;' so said- Mr. 
Rose at Bath. 


great satisfaction to me to think, may be fully accom- 
plished without any considerable addition to the burdens 
of my people.' — ' That is false,' said Pitt ; ' I know it 
to be impossible, unless it is intended to disarm the 
country entirely, and leave it in a defenceless state even 
for its home policy.' 

No amendment to the Address was moved in either 
House of Parliament. But Lord Grenville among the 
Peers, as Mr. Windham in the Commons, took occasion 
to renew their attacks upon the Ministry. Their grounds 
were much the same as in the preceding year. One 
new feature in their course could not, however, fail to 
strike. Lord Grenville, notwithstanding the great dif- 
ferences between himself and Pitt on the subject of the 
peace, now referred to him as to the only fit helmsman 
of the State. For thus did Grenville conclude his elo- 
quent harangue : — ' You have no hope of salvation but 
by a strong system of defence. Europe is at this time 
sunk in distraction and despair, but the energy and 
spirit of Great Britain may arouse the States of the 
Continent to a glorious struggle for their liberty and 
independence. If, however, there be any hope, it is to 
be found in measures of decision and firmness — in a 
bold and animated tone held by a leader of courage and 
capacity — not by any of the men now in power, but by 
him to whom this country, to whom Europe looks up 
at this awful hour for the preservation of their dearest 
rights and liberties.' l 

Exactly similar was the tone of Grenville in his most 
familiar correspondence : — ' To place the Government in 
Pitt's hands ought,' he writes, ' to be the wish of every 
man who thinks it at all material to himself whether 
Bonaparte shall or not treat us in twelve months pre- 
cisely in the style he has now treated the Swiss.' 2 

In the House of Commons (where next day the 

1 Pari. Hint. vol. xxxvi. p. 945. 

2 Letter to Lord Buckingham, in the Courts and Cabinets of 
George III. vol. iii. p. 214. 

1803 FOX'S SPEECH. 77 

debate was renewed on the Beport) the same strong wish 
was expressed by several Members. On the other hand, 
Mr. Fox in his second Speech argued in support of the 
administration mainly as shielding the country from the 
possible return of Mr. Pitt. To some degree he also 
pleaded the cause of the Government of France. It was 
noticed that his line in respect of commercial rivalry 
and commercial advantages was as nearly as possible 
opposite to his line in 1787. He was answered by Mr. 
Canning with much ability, but with some lack of dis- 
cretion, as committing more than he had any right to 
do the name of his chief at Bath. 

Addington himself, who spoke on both nights, was 
observed to speak but poorly. ' His own troops are 
heartily ashamed of him ' — so says Canning of a later 
debate. In truth, however, his abilities were highly 
respectable. But used as he was to the gravity and 
authority of the Chair, he wanted altogether that power 
of quick replication which a leader in debate requires. 

The report of Mr. Fox's speech in the House of 
Commons stirred Mr. Pitt at Bath, as a war-horse is 
stirred by the trumpet. Here, again, we have Lord 
Malmesbury's Journal : — ' Saturday, May 27. The 
moment I came into the pump-room Pitt took me apart 
and began talking- with much warmth on Fox's conduct 
and language in the House of Commons, and went on 
with such rapidity and eloquence that what he said to 
me was more like the skeleton of an answer to Fox than 
quiet conversation. He was eager to recur to what Fox 
had said on the Commercial Treaty in 1787, and we 
went to Bull's 1 to look back into the Debates. In short, 
he was so full of the subject as to raise apprehensions 
in my mind that he felt a strong hankering to go up 
and answer Fox.' 

Next day Mr. Pitt calling upon Lord Malmesbury 
renewed the conversation. He showed himself ' sore at 
least, if not angry,' at Canning's speech. ' Our private 

1 The principal circulating Library at Bath. 


regard gives him no right to assert opinions in my 
name ; and I am the more averse to it, since it tends to 
do what of all things I most reprobate — to embroil me 
personally with Addington and Hawkesbury.' 

Pitt next reverted to Fox's speech, of which he again 
spoke with the same indignation and animation as the 
day before ; and as Lord Malmesbury was about to reply, 
Pitt added : ' I will anticipate what you, I know, have 
to say, by owning to you freely that it was my intention 
to have gone up when the Army or Navy Estimates 
came before the House, to stay only one day, and to 
speak only on one subject. But what you hinted to 
Kose set him, and he set me, a thinking; and on dis- 
passionate reconsideration we agreed you were quite 
right. I am now decided to stay.' 

On the 2nd of December there ensued a debate in 
the House of Commons upon the Navy Estimates. The 
Ministers asked a vote for fifty thousand seamen, — 
nearly double the number that had been voted after the 
peace of 1783. So far then their proposal was agree- 
able to the friends at this time of warlike preparation, 
and it was passed without division, though not without 
remark. A great oration of Mr. Sheridan had been 
promised for this debate. Thus writes Canning to Lord 
Malmesbury three days before : 'Sheridan is to come 
down with a speech for large establishments and against 

Bonaparte, but against Pitt and all of us also He 

assures me that Fox will never be Minister, but he will 
do all that he can to keep Pitt out. This is confessedly 
his present game.' 

The great speech of Sheridan was, however, reserved 
till the 8th of December, when the Army Estimates 
came forward. They were moved by Mr. Charles Yorke 
as Secretary at War. ' I was much surprised,' said 
Mr. Yorke, l when, on another evening, I heard an Hon. 
gentleman (Mr. Fox) maintain that there was no reason 
why a larger establishment than usual in former periods 
of peace should be maintained in Great Britain ; and 


that tli ere were reasons why even a smaller force would 
suffice everywhere but in the West Indies.' It was no 
hard matter for Mr. Yorke to argue against this pro- 
position, or to point out the dangers that impended 
from the Continent of Europe. He could reckon on the 
support of the House for the proposal which his speech 
contained — to provide for a regular force of nearly one 
hundred and thirty thousand men, counting officers, and 
including the regiments in India. This was an increase 
on the establishment voted on the first conclusion of the 

Then and after some other speeches Sheridan rose. 
He referred to Fox as to the man whom of all men upon 
earth he most loved and respected. But these senti- 
ments did not withhold him from some keen animad- 
versions, although in covert terms, upon the course 
which Fox had latterly been seeking to promote. He 
approved of the King's Speech. He approved of the 
large establishments. He approved of Addington as 
Minister. What (he asked) had other members really 
to allege against that Right Hon. gentleman ? Theirs 
was a mere capricious dislike ; for no better reason than 
is given in an epigram of Martial, or in an English 
parody upon that epigram : 

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, 
The reason why I cannot tell ; 
But this I'm sure I know full well, 
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. 

Those who call to mind that Addington already bore 
the nick-name of ' the Doctor,' and who know the keen 
relish of the House of Commons for almost any jest, may 
easily imagine the roars of laughter with which Sheridan's 
allusion was received. 

Sheridan proceeded in a strain of blended wit and 
argument. ' What,' he said, * did these gentlemen ex- 
pect from the present Chancellor of the Exchequer ? 
We treated him when in the Chair of this House with 


the respect he merited. . . . But did they expect that 
when he was Minister he was to stand up and call 
Europe to Order? Was he to send Mr. Colman, the 
Serjeant-at-Arms, to the Baltic and summon the 
Northern Powers to the Bar of this House ? Was he 
to see the Powers of Germany scrambling like Members 
over the benches, and say — Gentlemen must take their 
places ? Was he expected to cast his eye to the Tuscan 
gallery, and exclaim that strangers must withdraw ? 
Was he to stand across the Rhine, and say — The 
Germans to the right, and the French to the left ? If 
he could have done these things, I for one should always 
vote that the Speaker of the House should be appointed 
the Minister of the country. But the Right Hon. 
gentleman has done all that a reasonable man could 
expect him to do.' 

' Sir,' — so Sheridan continued — * I confess I wish 
to know what Mr. Pitt himself thinks. I should be 
glad to hear what his sentiments are of the call made 
for him, and loudly too, in another place by a vigorous 
statesman. 1 I well remember, Sir, and so do we all, 
the character Mr. Pitt gave of the present administra- 
tion. Does he mean to retract that character ? I 

cannot suppose he does Sir, when I see so many 

persons anxious about that gentleman, I am glad to 
hear that his health is re-established. But how, I 
would ask, can we with any consistency turn out the 
man who made the peace to bring in the man who 
avowed his approbation of it ? I suspect, there- 
fore, that the political Philidor's game has been mis- 
understood ; that his friends have displaced a knight 
and a castle when they should only have taken two 
pawns ; that they have made an attempt to check-mate 
the King when they had no intructions for doing it. 
I cannot forget the period when the august Person of 
the Sovereign was held up as the only man who was 
against extending privileges to the Catholics in Ireland ; 

1 Lord Grenville. 


and I cannot, therefore, brook the idea of calling that 
Right Hon. gentleman back to power, and forcing him 

upon the Crown Mr. Pitt the only man to save 

the country I If a nation depends only upon one man, 
it cannot, and I will add, it does not deserve to be 
saved ; it can be saved only by the Parliament and 

Next after Sheridan rose Canning. In his great 
speech that evening he displayed not only a luminous 
eloquence, but the rarer gift (rarer, I mean, in him) of 
perfect discretion. He desired to express his senti- 
ments, not of satisfaction merely, but of thankfulness, 
for the part which his Hon. Friend (Mr. Sheridan) had 
that day taken. 

' It is by no means the first time,' he said, * that 
my Hon. Friend, throwing aside all petty distinctions 
of party feeling, has come forward, often under circum- 
stances of peculiar difficulty, often discouraged, always 
alone, as the champion of his country's rights and 
interests, and has rallied the hearts and spirits of the 
nation. 1 I trust we shall now hear no more of those 
miserable systems, the object of which is not to rouse 
us to ward off our ruin, but to reconcile us to submit to 
it. ..." We have nothing to dread from France but a 
rivalry in commerce," says the Hon. gentleman opposite 
to me (Mr. Fox). Look round, Sir, on the state of the 
world, and can such an argument even from such a man 
need farther refutation ? ' 

' And what, Sir ' — so Canning went on in another 
passage — ' what is the nature of the times in which we 
live ? Look at France, and see what we have to cope 
with, and consider what has made her what she is ? A 
man. You will tell me that she was great, and 
powerful, and formidable before the date of Bonaparte's 
Government ; that he found in her great physical and 

1 Mr. Canning seems to allude especially to the course of Mr. 
Sheridan at the time of the Mutiny of the Nore. Look back in 
the second volume to pp. 204 and 211. 


moral resources ; that he had but to turn them to 
account. True, and he did so. Compare the situation 
in which lie found France with that to which be has 
raised her. I am no panegyrist of Bonaparte ; but 
I cannot shut my eyes to the superiority of his talents, 
to the amazing ascendency of his genius. Tell me not 
of his measures and his policy — it is his genius, his 
character, that keeps the world in awe. Sir, to meet, 
to check, to curb, to stand up against him, we want 
arms of the same kind. I am far from objecting to the 
large military establishments which are proposed to 
you. I vote for them with all my heart. But, for the 
purpose of coping with Bonaparte, one great command- 
ing spirit is worth them all. This is my undisguised 
opinion. But when I state this opinion thus undis- 
guisedly, is my Right Hon. Friend (Mr. Pitt) to be im- 
plicated in a charge of prompting what I say ? . . . . 

' Sir, of all the imputations to which that Right 
Hon. gentleman could be subjected, I confess I did 
think that of intrigue and cabal the least likely to be 
preferred against him by any man who has witnessed 
his public conduct. . . . No, Sir. Never did young 
Ambition, just struggling into public notice and 
aiming at popular favour, labour with half so much 
earnestness to court reputation and to conciliate adhe- 
rents, as my Right Hon. Friend has laboured since his 
retreat from office not to attract, but to repel ; not to 
increase the number of his followers, but to dissolve 
attachment and to transfer support. And if, whatever 
has been his endeavour to insulate and individualize 
himself in political life, he has not been able to succeed 
wholly, even with those who would sacrifice to his 
wishes everything but their attachment to him — if 
with the public he has succeeded not at all, what is the 
inference? what but that, retreat and withdraw as 
much as he will, he must not hope to efface the 
memory of his past services from the gratitude of his 
country? — he cannot withdraw himself from the follow- 


ing of a nation ; he must endure the attachment of a 
people whom he has saved.' 

This most remarkable debate lasted till near four in 
the morning. Never, perhaps, I may say in passing, 
were any two statesmen more evenly matched in wit, 
in eloquence, in genius, or in that restlessness of 
temper — which is only too frequent as the satellite upon 
genius — than were Sheridan and Canning in the House 
of Commons. 

Mr. Pitt at Bath received constant reports of the 
House of Commons from the letters of several friends, 
as Long, Ryder, and Lord Camden. All of them 
agreed in high praise of Canning's speech, and Pitt 
requested Lord Malmesbury to tell the young orator 
that for his own part he was perfectly satisfied with 
it. 1 Passing then to the general turn of the debate, 
Pitt said that be readily forgave the pretended abuse 
Sheridan bestowed on him in consequence of the real 
abuse he dealt out to Fox. He admired the wit and 
humour of the speech, and joined heartily in the laugh 
upon Dr. Fell. 

In the same conversation with Lord Malmesbury, 
Pitt went on to discuss the state of the country. He 
enlarged with evident pleasure on its vast resources. 
However great France may be (he said), we have a 
revenue equal to that of all Europe (he made it out as 
thirty-two millions sterling), a navy superior to that of 
all Europe, and a commerce as great as that of all 
Europe. ' And,' he added laughingly, ' to make us 
quite gentlemen, we have a debt as large as that of all 
Europe ! If with these means we act wisely — with a 
just mixture of spirit and forbearance — and if we can 
protract the evil of war for a few years, war will be an 
evil much less felt. . . . For myself. I am disposed to 
think that now I may be allowed, at least for a little 
while longer, to enjoy quiet.' 

On the same afternoon that this conversation passed, 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 146. 
G 2 




as Lord Malmesbury proceeds to tell it in his Diary, 
' Pitt, Lord Mulgrave, and Colonel Stanley dined with 
ine. Nobody could be more cheerful or more com- 
panionable than he was after dinner; and upstairs with 
Lady Malmesbury and my daughters, as usual we 
played at Speculation.'' — Speculation, I may observe, 
was then a fashionable round-game at cards. 

Lord Malmesbury did not fail to apprise Mr. Canning 
of the conversation that had passed, and he received 
from him the following reply : — 

Mr. Canning to Lord Malmesbury. 

Conduit Street, Dec. 14, 1802. 

I like your general account of Pitt, but not 

the particular expression of his wish for a long period of 
inaction. Sooner or later he must act, or the country is 
gone. All the appearances of the present moment, I am 
persuaded, are false and hollow. The tone is assumed but 
to answer the pressure of the moment, and nothing is really 
at bottom but concession — concession — concession. Will 
Pitt be thus satisfied ] God forbid ! G. C. 

Pitt at this time was not quite stationary. He paid 
several short visits from Bath, but again returned to it. 
He went again to his mother's at Burton Pynsent — the 
last time that he ever saw her. He went to Lord and 
Lady Bath's at their fine seat of Longleat — perhaps the 
finest seat in the south of England. On his departure 
from that visit Lord Bath's horses conveyed his carriage 
to Shepton Mallet ; it was market-day, and the people 
there insisted on taking off the horses and drawing him 
to the inn. It was the sudden outburst of their own 
honest enthusiasm, since there had not been the smallest 
notice or preparation for his coming. 

Pitt went also for two nights to Lord and Lady 
Bathurst's at Cirencester. There, as at Longleat, he 
OM'l Lord Malmesbury and his daughters, and the party 
were wont in the evening to resume with much zest 
their favourite Speculation. 


In the course of this month there were several things 
to indispose Mr. Pitt with the Ministry. In the first 
place, some sharp attacks upon him appeared in the 
Times. That paper (first established in January, 1788) 
had not yet attained its present high pre-eminence ; hut 
even then it exercised a considerable influence upon the 
public mind. The Editor — so Mr. Eose informs us — 
was in habits of constant intercourse with Mr. Hiley 
Addington. 1 Hence, as was alleged, Mr. Addington the 
Minister received the constant praises of this journal, 
but might at the same time be deemed responsible for 
any political invective which it contained. 

Here are some extracts from one article of great 
ability, which appeared on the 2nd of December. 

The InccqxMe Men. 

It thus begins : — 

Those who have never entertained a high opinion of 
' the Family Politics,' and think it possible for a State to be 
saved without a Grenville, will only laugh at the late ex- 
tempore confessions of that disappointed party. The public 
has not forgotten the stupendous nonsense that followed 
their resignation, when the public were congratulated that 
the persons who had just gone out of office were, ex-officio, 
at the head of affairs. At this time it was the pert affecta- 
tion of the ex-officio to speak of their successors as men un- 
known to the country (as if no Ministers could be too well 
known !). 

And, after a series of mock-attacks upon the Ministers, 
it thus concludes : — 

There is a kind of cowardice in setting one's wits 
against men so incapable, but the love for our country and 
for truth extorts from our reluctant feelings one other 
charge, so heinous and important that it is impossible to 
suppress it ; namely — that they are incapable, after enjoying 
for a term of years the honours and emoluments of power 
and office, their Sovereign's favour, and the confidence of 
their countrymen, of deserting their post in the hour of 

1 Diaries of Mr. Rose, vol. i. p. 509. 


danger, upon some frivolous pretext, or for some mysterious 
intrigue, which they have not the courage to explain, and 
which could not have operated upon men of courage, or 
men anxious for character : that they were incapahle of de- 
siring their offices for their own advantage at a time when 
office was so perilous as to have ceased to have charms for 
the insatiable ambition of others ; and that they are in- 
capable of resigning them at the factious bidding of any one 
whom their happy and successful services may have made 
repent his own crime or folly in abandoning them. 

Mr. Kose was much incensed at this article in the 
Times, and he states that, after conversing with him, Mr. 
Pitt became so too. The misstatement as to Pitt's 
resignation seemed the more reprehensible if in any 
degree prompted or even countenanced by members of 
the new administration who knew the real facts of the 
case. Pitt declared that he would write to Steele, de- 
siring he would say to Addington that, unless the 
calumny was disavowed as publicly as it had been put 
forth, he (Mr. Pitt) must consider it as sanctioned by 
the Minister. But on further reflection Pitt gave up 
the idea of any such communication. 

On the 8th Addington brought forward his Budget — 
and here again was a cause of much displeasure to Pitt. 
In the first place, there was announced a loan of ten 
millions for the financial year; and how was this to be 
reconciled with the words put into the King's mouth 
only a fortnight before ? Next, and even before the 
Budget, the Minister, instead of dealing with the defi- 
ciency forthwith, proposed the fallacious expedient of 
Exchequer Bills. ' I am the more surprised at it,' said 
Pitt to Kose, ' because I have repeatedly stated to him 
the indispensable necessity of providing at once for any 
extraordinary expenses which might occur in years of 
peace. Addington always admitted the principle, and 
gave me the strongest assurances that he woidd on no 
occasion nor in any emergency depart from it.' 

It does not seem requisite in this place to examine at 


full length the financial statement of Addington. His 
biographer acknowledges that at the time it provoked a 
great deal of hostile criticism. As he owns, ' it was 
charged with being boastful, invidious to his predeces- 
sors in office, and materially erroneous in a part of its 
details.' l There was one expression in it — perhaps 
only a chance one — that gave much offence to Pitt. It 
was where the Minister complimented his colleague, Lord 
St. Vincent, for his ' economical management,' which 
Pitt thought a reflection on Dundas ; for Dundas had 
been Treasurer of the Navy. 

But although Pitt may have thought so, it is clear 
that Dundas himself did not. Undoubtedly he would 
else have declined to receive at this very period a con- 
siderable favour from the Government. Now, on the 
21st of December there was published in the Gazette 
his elevation to the peerage, with the title of Viscount 
Melville. In talking to Rose upon this intelligence, 
Pitt said that he was beyond measure surprised at it. 
1 1 have not,' he added, ' heard one syllable from him 
on the subject since we parted in the summer ; indeed, 
I have had no letter from him for some months. But 
what is most extraordinary, Dundas when I last saw 
him stated to me a variety of reasons why it was impos- 
sible for him to accept a peerage.' 

It is certainly a little strange that Lord Melville 
should not have announced his new position to his con- 
stant friend and recent chief. But no blame whatever 
can attach to him for reconsidering any family reasons 
that may have stood in the way of his peerage, and for 
accepting an honour which his long and able public 
services had most amply earned. I may add that for 
some months past there had been a considerable ap- 
proximation between him and Addington. In the 
summer of 1802 he had consented to manage the elec- 
tions north of Tweed on behalf of the Ministers, and 
had done so with his wonted skill and success ; and in 

1 Life of Lord Sidmouth, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 101. 


the February following there was a strong rumour that 
he was about to join their ranks as First Lord of the 
Admiralty. 1 

At the Christmas holidays the two Houses adjourned 
to the beginning of February, and on the 22nd of De- 
cember Lord Castlereagh arrived at Bath. His object 
was to see Mr. Pitt, and the two statesmen had a long 
conversation. Lord Castlereagh said that great diffi- 
culties had arisen respecting the disposal of Malta, and 
that there was now an idea to leave the nomination of a 
Grand Master to the Pope. Of this scheme Mr. Pitt 
expressed his decided disapprobation. At the same 
time he told his Noble Friend that from the statements 
he had seen of the Budget he was convinced that 
Addington had made great mistakes. 

It may be observed that the differences which then 
and subsequently arose between Pitt and Addington 
were much aggravated and inflamed by some of their 
respective friends. On Pitt's side we have seen that 
from the very outset Canning, Rose, and the Bishop of 
Lincoln most especially, were in the highest degree 
hostile to Addington. So early as the close of 1801 I 
find the Bishop apply in private to that Minister, and 1 
think most unjustly, the words ' such incompetency 
and such knavery.' 2 On Addington's side the evidence 
is not equally clear. But there seems strong reason to 
bebeve that he was often stirred against his predecessor 
by his brother Mr. Hiley Addington, and his brother- 
in-law Mr. Charles Bragge. To both these relatives he 
was warmly attached. To both he showed the same 
mistaken kindness as had Mr. Pitt to Lord Chatham, by 
seeking to place them in high office. Yet both, though 
very respectable men, were in truth characterised by 
utter mediocrity of mind. Now, as I have often had 
occasion to observe in public life, the evil of placing 
men of mediocrity in high office is by no means merely 

1 Lord Grcnville to Lord Buckinpliam, Feb. 15, 1801. 

2 Letter to Mr. Rose, Dec. 23, 1801. 


to be measured by the incompetent discharge of their 
official duty. It makes them resist and oppose as far 
as possible the entrance into a like employment of any 
higher genius. They are striving to pull down the 
whole administration to the same stupid level as their 

On the 24th of December Pitt bid farewell to Bath, 
and set off to pass the Christmas with George Rose, at 
Cuffnells. The latter notes : — ' During the three days 
Mr. Pitt was here we carefully went through all the 
papers on finance necessary to consider Mr. Addington's 
statement on opening his Budget, and he agreed with 
me entirely in all my conclusions, going away perfectly 
persuaded that the whole of these statements were 
founded on gross errors. . . . He conceived too that it 
would be impossible for him to avoid delivering his 
thoughts on the subject in the House of Commons.' 
From another passage it appears that Pitt estimated the 
miscalculation at no less than 2,800,000£. a-year. 

On Monday, the 27th, the retired Minister travelled 
forward to Lord Malmesbury's, and in the Diary of his 
new host we find : — ' Pitt came to Park Place about 
seven in the evening, to a late dinner. Mr. Elliot was 
the only person in the house besides my daughters and 
Fitzharris. Pitt was the pleasantest companion possible 
at and after dinner, whether conversing with us or with 
them, and we sat up, without any reference to public 
concerns, till near one o'clock.' 

On the day ensuing Canning and Lord Morpeth 
joined the party from London. ' I wished, however,' 
says Lord Malmesbury, ' that the conversation should 
be still general, and I warded off all politics by playing 
very joyously at Speculation till bed-time.' 

Next clay nevertheless Mr. Pitt, before he took leave 
of his host, entered fully upon politics, and above all 
foreign politics. ' The great question now for us,' he said, 
* is how to bear and to forbear. If peace can be preserved 
but for four or five years, our revenue would be so far 



improved that we might without fear look in the face of 
such a war as we have just ended. Nothing should 
supersede that consideration except that which ought 
to supersede everything — a gross national insult, or an 
open act of hostility— or such an attempt at aggrandize- 
ment on the part of France as would in effect comprise 

At one o'clock on that same day, the 29th, Pitt and 
Canning went on together to Dropmore. ' Nothing very 
material passed ' — such was subsequently Canning's 
account of this visit. Lord Grenville, writing to his 
brother, the Marquis, represents Mr. Pitt as grown more 
alienated in opinion from the Ministers, although still 
disposed to treat them with the utmost tenderness. 1 

In the mean time Addington being apprised by Lord 
Castlereagh of his conversations at Bath, had written to 
Pitt more than once, earnestly pressing to see him as 
soon as he arrived in town. 

Here is Pitt's reply : — 

Dropmore, Dec. 30, 1802. 

My dear Sir, — I received your letter just before I left 
Rose's from whence, by a slow progress, I arrived here 
yesterday, after calling at Park Place on my way. I am 
going on to-morrow or next day to Long's, where I shall 
probably remain for two or three days, and shall, therefore, 
hardly be in town before the middle of the week. I hope 
then to have the opportunity of seeing you, and I defer till 
then saying anything on the state and prospects of public 
affairs, on which I fear there are many points to which I 
cannot help looking forward with regret and anxiety. 

Yours affectionately, W. P. 

On Saturday, which was New Year's Day, Pitt and 
Canning left Dropmore in company, and separated at 
Cranford Bridge, Canning on his way to town, and Pitt 
I" Long's house on Bromley Hill. On Wednesday, the 
5th, he went to Addington's, at Richmond Lodge, where 
he remained that night. He found the Minister alone, 

1 Courts and Cabinets of George III. vol. iii. p. 243. 


and a good deal of conversation passed between them, 
not free from much adverse criticism on Pitt's side, but 
conducted on both in an amicable tone. 

From Richmond Pitt went to his own house in Park 
Place, then again to Bromley Hill, and then to Lord 
Camden's seat of Wilderness, near Sevenoaks. From 
Wilderness he returned once more to London, and pro- 
ceeded again for one night to Richmond Lodge. ' He 
does not look well ' — so wrote Addington to Hiley — ' but 
his strength is evidently improved, and his spirits and 
appetite are good.' In this visit, or perhaps, but less 
probably, in the one preceding, a remarkable incident 
occurred. Some weeks later it was related by Pitt 
himself, talking in confidence to Rose ; and I shall here 
transcribe the passage in which it is recorded : — 

' Mr. Pitt told me that when he was in town, after 
Christmas, he dined and slept at Mr. Addington's, in 
Richmond Park ; that they were alone the whole after- 
noon and evening, and a considerable part of the next 
morning, in all which time Mr. A. never dropped the 
remotest hint about Mr. Pitt returning to office ; but 
in the chaise, coming into town, when they had reached 
Hyde Park, Mr. A., in a very embarrassed manner, 
entered on the subject by saying that if Lord Grenville 
had not stated the indispensable necessity of Mr. Pitt 
coming into office to carry on the Ofovernment, he 
should have been disposed himself to propose his return 
to administration ; and followed that up in a way that 
rendered it impossible for Mr. Pitt to remain silent. 
He therefore said that whenever it should be thought 
there was a necessity for his returning to office, he 
should consider very attentively how far it would be 
right and proper for him to do so ; and in such an event 
he should first desire to know what His Majesty's wishes 
might be on the subject, and that he should not decide 
without knowing the opinion of Mr. A. and his col- 
leagues about it. It appeared, from Mr. Addington 
having delayed this conversation till this time, within 


ten minutes or a quarter of an hour l)efore their sepa- 
ration, and from the extreme embarrassment he was 
under during it, that he felt reluctant and awkward in 
beginning it, and that he wished it to be of no long 

A few days after this interview with Addington, Pitt 
took his departure for Waliner Castle. The two states- 
men did not meet again for many weeks. 

One of the earliest letters from Pitt at Walmer was 
to Rose, recapitulating the conversations which had 
recently passed at Richmond or in London, and en- 
treating his friend to forego an intention which Rose 
had just expressed, to come forward in the House of 
Commons and deliver a reply in detail to Addington's 
financial statement of the 10th of December last. 

Here are the principal passages of this letter, which, 
I may add, was entirely successful in its object. 

Walmer Castle, Jan. 28, 1803. 

Dear Rose, — .... You know already how prone 
people have been to think that they could collect my inten- 
tions from the declarations of persons whose relation to me 
in no degree justified such an inference ; and you must, I 
am sure, feel how much more this would apply to any thing 
said by you, on any subject, and especially on that in ques- 
tion. It would be in vain to attempt to persuade the world 
that there was no concert between us, unless I were pre- 
pared to take a line directly contrary to yours, which is so far 
from being possible, that, on the contrary, I must, on the 
first proper opportunity, take precisely the same line myself. 
Do not imagine, therefore, that I either want, out of tender- 
ness to Government, to prevent the discussion, or that I 
conceive it would be possible to do so, if I ever so much 
wished it. What I do wish is, that when I must be forced 
to declare an opinion which cannot fail to produce such 
effects on the credit of the Government, that opinion should 
come dh-ectly from myself, and not be collected from any 
other person. I feel this the more strongly because I have 
already stated my sentiments distinctly to Addington, and 
apprised him that unless he can convince me that his original 
statement is right, and my objections to it are erroneous, it 

1803 LETTER TO MR. ROSE. 93 

will be impossible for me to suffer the public to continue 
under a delusion on so important a point. Having received 
no attempt towards explanation before I left town, I talked 
over the whole subject with Steele, and repeated to him my 
intentions, that he might state them again to Addington. 
I probably shall hear from him before long, but I am per- 
fectly confident nothing can be said on the real truth of the 
case that can materially vary our statement. I wait chiefly 
to see whether they admit their error, and are ready to take 
the steps which the real state of the income and expenditure 
requires, or whether they mean to persist and justify. If 
the former, I shall certainly wish to add as little as possible 
(as far as depends upon me) to the pain and discredit of such 
a retractation, and to give every facility in my power to 
such measures as are adequate to the necessity of our situa- 
tion. If the latter, the task of exposing their blunders will 
be more disagreeable both to me and them, but must at all 
events be executed, both for the sake of my own character 
and the deep public interests involved. At all events, my 
present notion is to take the first opportunity (probably on 
the discussion either of the repeal of the Convoy Duty or 
the Malt Tax) to give my general opinion on the state of 
our finance, and to be regulated by the circumstances I have 

referred to in the further measures I may pursue 

Ever sincerely yours, W. Pitt. 

In this Chapter it has been my object to lay before 
the reader as fully and as fairly as I could the first 
steps of the alienation which so soon afterwards ensued 
between Pitt and Addington. As it seems to me, that 
alienation in all its parts is perfectly consistent not only 
with the personal honour and good faith, but also with 
the public spirit and the friendly inclination, of both 
parties. Their difference arose from causes which might 
have been foreseen, but which could not be averted. 
When a man of moderate abilities is placed at the head 
of affairs, and when another man of first-rate genius in 
politics is standing at his side, it must happen that the 
former will commit some faults which the latter will 
not be slow to see. A sense of public duty must in 
the long run impel the independent statesman to make 


known — if he can, to correct ; if he cannot, to oppose — 
any great error of the Ministerial measures. Nor can 
it be avoided that in times of danger and affright the 
nation should anxiously turn from the lesser politician 
to the great one. All this is in practice inconsistent 
with the maintenance of personal friendship ; but all 
this arises only from the vice of the original arrange- 
ment, in which, through the complications of politics, 
the true position of talent was inverted. 



Pitt relinquishes for a time his attendance in the House of Com- 
mons- His conference with Rose — Correspondence with Lord 
Chatham — Prince of Wales's Debts— Dissensions with France — 
Interview of Lord Whitworth with the First Consul — Trial of 
Peltier — Ea-posc to the Corps Legislatif— Armaments in France 
and Holland— Energetic measures of the British Ministry — 
Public anxiety for Pitt's return to office — Proposal conveyed to 
him by Lord Melville — Subsequent overtures from Addington — 
Death of the Dowager Countess of Chatham. 

Pitt at Walmer Castle had a return of gout, and also a 
sharp bilious attack, which confined him to his room for 
some days. During his retirement he had ample leisure 
to review the state of politics. He was more than ever 
convinced that Addington had committed some serious 
errors, both in foreign affairs and in measures of finance. 
He knew that he could not attend the House of Com- 
mons without being called upon to speak. He knew 
that he could not speak as he felt without damaging, 
and, perhaps, even overthrowing the Government. On 
the other hand he could not deny that a high part was 
incumbent upon him as still in some degree the guar- 
dian of the public purse and of the national safety. 
But since the letter of Pitt, which I have inserted, of 


the close of January, other and most serious considera- 
tions pressed upon him. He learnt that the dissensions 
with France were becoming day by clay more dark and 
lowering. He learnt how large and inadmissible were 
the new pretensions that the First Consul had put 
forward. Would it be right then, would it be worthy of 
a high-minded politician, to run any risk of damaging or 
of overthrowing the Government at the very period when 
the question of Peace or War was at issue, and hung 
trembling in the scales ? It was under the influence of 
these feelings that Pitt resolved to persevere in the 
course which he had recently adopted. He came to the 
decision to postpone, or indeed for the time to relinquish, 
his attendance in the House of Commons. 

It was with these sentiments, and at this period, that 
the following letters were written : — 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Walmer Castle, Feb. 16, 1803. 
Dear Rose, — The return of something like fine weather 
gives me so much occupation here, and will probably give 
me so much health, that it would alone have tempted me a 
good deal to change my plan, and remain here some time 
longer. But, besides this selfish reason, I am more and 
more persuaded, by all that I see of things and parties, that 
any part I could take at present, if I were in town, would 
be more likely to do harm than good ; and that I am, there- 
fore, in every point of view, better where I am. There are, 
however, many points in our situation, and particularly on 
the subject of finance, which I should have been very glad 
to talk over with you ; and if it was not proposing to you 
anything very inconvenient, it would be a great satisfaction 
to me, if (whenever you are released from your Southampton 
Bill, or anything else you wish to attend) you could spare 
a few days to let me have the pleasure of seeing you here. 
According to my present notion, I should not be likely, if I 
can help it, to move from hence for some weeks. I am now 
quite free both from gout and bile, and am gaining strength 
every day. The picture from my windows this morning is 
as delightful as in the middle of summer. 

Ever sincerely yours, W. P. 


Rose did accordingly repair to Walmer, and remained 
there several days. In his journal he notes : 'Anxious 
as I was before I came here for Mr. Pitt's attendance in 
Parliament, I am a convert to the reasons which under 
a choice of very great difficulties incline him to remain 
in the country.' 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Chatham. 

Walmer Castle, Feb. 24, 1803. 
My dear Brother, — Lord Camden tells me you were de- 
sirous of knowing whether I was yet coming to town. I 
have not hitherto fixed in my own mind any precise time, 
and I find so much benefit during this fine weather from air 
and exercise here, that I wish to prolong my stay as much 
as I can ; the more so, to say the truth, as I could hardly be 
in town without attending the House, and I do not see, in 
the present state of things, any advantage that would arise 
from the statement of my opinions. The subject of finance 
is, per-haps, one on which I may feel it impossible to avoid 
taking a part, unless measures should be brought forward in 
the course of the Session very different from anything I can 
expect either from Addington's printed speech, or from what 
I have since heard of his intentions. The line I must 
take in this respect will, howevei', very much depend on the 
nature of his final Budget for the year, which I suppose will 
hardly be brought on till after Easter. I should like much 
to be able to explain to you fully the nature of my opinions, 
as far as I am able to form them, and the grounds on which 
they rest ; and I should certainly be inclined to make a 
short visit to town for that purpose only, if it were not for 
the reasons I have already given you. 

Ever, my dear brother, &c, W. Pitt. 

Walmer Castle, Sunday, Feb. 27, 1803. 
My dear Brother, — The very interesting state of things 
you describe, and the wish you express to see me, would be 
more than sufficient to determine me immediately to come 
for a few clays to town, if by doing so I could have the 
satisfaction of talking over the subject with you as fully as 
you wish, without exposing myself to being drawn into con- 
sultations with others, which I really do not think, under 
the circumstances, would be fit or desirable. 


The bent of my opinion on a general view of the question 
before you, you may easily guess. It certainly leans 
strongly one way ; and if I were under the necessity of 
forming a decision and acting upon it, much as I feel the 
difficulties which in either event the country will have to 
encounter, I believe I should have little hesitation in making 
the option. But the propriety of any line to be adopted is 
so blended with the consideration of the measures by which 
it is to be followed up, and with the mode of executing 
them, that I should feel it much more difficult to judge 
what it would be prudent and right for others to determine, 
and I should be very sorry that any weight given to my 
opinion should influence a decision so important in its con- 
sequences to those who are to form it, and to the public. 

I can, however, have no scruple in stating to you, in 
confidence and for yourself only, whatever occui-s to me, if 
it can give any satisfaction to your mind, or in the smallest 
degree assist you in forming your own judgment. I will 
therefore endeavour to write to you more at large to-morrow 
than I should have time to do now, having been prevented 
by different interruptions from beginning my letter till near 
the time of the post going out. 

Ever, my dear brother, &c, W. Pitt. 

Walmer Castle, Feb. 28, 1803. 

My dear Brother, — I will now endeavour to state to you 
the chief considerations which present themselves to me on 
the important question now at issue. They are partly those 
on which I conceive Government has hitherto acted in its 
discussions on the subject of Malta, and partly those which 
are suggested by the recent proofs of Bonaparte's views in 
that quarter. It must, I think, have been generally felt 
that after going as far as we did in concession in the pre- 
liminary and definitive treaties, we were peculiarly bound 
to insist on the full benefit of the articles contained in them, 
and that where they might be found not to admit of literal 
execution, we could not be expected to acquiesce in any new 
arrangement that was not at least equally advantageous to 
us. This principle was strengthened by all the subsequent 
conduct of Bonaparte since the Peace, which was such as on 
former occasions would of itself have been thought fresh 
cause of actual war, and which at least justified and required 



additional jealousy and precaution in settling any point 
which might come into discussion ; and the reasoning ap- 
plied peculiarly to Malta, both as it was an object in so 
many ways important, and one with respect to which we 
had so much reason to suspect Bonaparte's designs. If the 
rpiestion had rested here, and, under merely these circum- 
stances, Bonaparte had brought forward his present demand 
for our evacuating it before any satisfactory arrangement 
was formed for its security, such a demand would have 
appeared even then sufficiently extravagant, and such as we 
could not comply with, either honourably or safely. The 
step would seem tantamount to an absolute surrender of the 
island into the hands of France under an admission that the 
terms stipulated by the definitive treaty could not be 
executed, and after a fruitless attempt by a negotiation 
(known to be depending for many months) to obtain some 
new security. 

But humiliating and disgraceful as our situation would 
have been on this supposition, the case seems now to be still 
stronger. This demand is now brought forward under cir- 
cumstances which no longer leave us to reason about the 
nature of Bonaparte's further intentions in the East, but 
after what I consider as a public and authentic account of 
liis determination to avail himself of the first moment in his 
power to regain possession both of Egypt and the Venetian 
Islands. I, of com-se, refer to Sebastiani's report ; a state- 
paper which never could have been published at all, much 
less in the Moniteur, nor ever have been left uncontradicted, 
if it were not both genuine and conformable to Bonaparte's 
plans, and if he did not (for some reason or other) wish to 
proclaim those plans beforehand to the world. To choose 
such a moment for urging his present demand appears to me 
only a proof of the height to which he already cai-ries his 
insolence, and his hope, of being aide to dictate without 
resistance; and if he succeeds in this attempt, it is impossible 
to doubt that he will proceed to realise the designs which he 
has announced. We must therefore expect, if we now con- 
cede to him, to be obliged in a short time afterwards to 
acquiesce in his seizure both of Egypt and the Seven Islands, 
and in all the dangers which would result from it; or we 
must then embark in the contest, having in the interval, 
with our eyes open, consented to abandon the best means of 


security for ourselves, and of annoyance to the enemy. On 
this view of the subject I certainly can hardly avoid con- 
cluding that immediate and certain war would be a less 
evil than such disgraceful and dangerous concession. 

I do not, however, hold it as certain that war would he 
the necessary consequence. There may be still some chance 
that a vigoirms and firm line adopted by Government, if 
aided by early public declarations of full support from Par- 
liament and the country, might enable us to carry our point 
without recurring to extremities. On this chance, however, 
I am by no means disposed to rely, though in looking to 
possibilities I do not put it wholly out of the question. In 
forming a decision I should wish to consider the alternative 
as concession or immediate war. I have already stated the 
chief arguments which weigh with me against concession. For 
it, I conceive little can be urged but on a supposition of 
the impossibility, or at least the difficulty and uncertainty, 
of our being able now to meet the contest with adequate 
exertions ; and the hope that by yielding now, we may be 
better prepared for it before it becomes absolutely unavoida- 
ble. I confess myself that I could not rest much on the 
hope of our being comparatively better prepared, as, if we 
encourage the enemy by our acquiescence at present, I fear 
we shall be driven to fight for some vital interest, or, per- 
haps, for our independence, within a shorter interval than 
could enable us to gain in point of resources anything that 
would at all counterbalance the fresh advantages which will 
have been obtained by France. 

With respect, however, to our present means, I own 
that I feel great anxiety. After the large establishments of 
this year, and so many months for extraordinary preparation, 
I cannot help hoping that in point of military and naval 
force we should begin the war in more strength than we 
have done on any former occasion. The greatest object of 
my anxiety is our finance, on which everything must so 
much depend. I do not, however, after full reflection, doubt 
the sufficiency of the country to provide for the expenses of 
seven or ten years of war without imposing burdens that 
would materially entrench on the comforts of the great body 
of the people, or ultimately affect our prosperity and credit. 
But I am convinced this can only be done by meeting at 
once the whole extent of our difficulties, and by raising 

h 2 


within the year a still larger proportion of tlio supplies than 
was done even in the last four years of the late war. On 
this plan 1 have no doubt that taxes may be found to answer 
all the purposes I have mentioned, and to prevent an accu- 
mulation of debt in the course of the war which must 
otherwise entail permanent burdens to an amount greater 
by many millions. But notwithstanding the clear ultimate 
advantage and economy of such a system, it certainly would 
require, in the first instance, an exertion which at first view 
would startle and alarm, and which cannot be effectually 
made without a firm determination on the part of Govern- 
ment, and without a real sense, both in Parliament and in 
the public, of the necessity of making it. Besides the re- 
newal of the Income Tax (which I fear is rendered more 
difficult than its first imposition), an addition of many mil- 
lions to our permanent taxes in the very first year is essential 
to the success of any such plan as I refer to. The difficulty of 
such an undertaking I certainly most strongly feel. A de- 
termination on Addington's part to attempt it and carry it 
through, I cannot help doubting, after what I have observed 
in his measures of finance in the present year ; and if any 
less efficient system is resorted to, I certainly see little chance 
of any advantageous or honourable issue out of the contest, 
unless any lucky accident, such as we have no right to count 
upon, should speedily terminate it in our favour. 

On the whole you will see from what I have said, that if 
it is determined in the event of war to make the exertions 
that appear to be necessary, and it is thought practicable to 
carry them through, I should think war, with all its diffi- 
culties, preferable to acquiescence. On the other supposition, 
I hardly know how to choose between alternatives each so 
pregnant with the greatest mischief and danger. I have 
troubled you with a very long detail, which I know not 
whether you will find at all useful in considering this ques- 
tion, but I was unwilling to withhold anything which has 
occurred to my own mind as material. I must only repeat 
my request, for reasons I stated yesterday, that you will 
consider what I have stated as for yourself only. 

Ever, ni)' dear brother, &C, W. P. 

At this time Mr. Pitt had established one of his 7nost 
constant friends as almost his nearest neighbour. This 




was Lord Carringtoh, on whom, in the preceding sum- 
mer, he had bestowed the Captaincy of Deal. The two 
Castles of Deal and Walmer are only a mile apart ; and 
the new rooms constructed by Lord Carrington in 
the former, without impairing its fortified strength, 
made it, as it continues to be, a delightful sea-side 

At this time also my father, then Lord Mahon, was a 
frequent visitor at Walmer Castle. On leaving Lord 
Stanhope's house he had gone to pursue his studies at 
the German University of Erlang, or as now called 
Erlangen. He returned when he came of age, in 
December, 1802, and had at once before him some 
important and anxious business to consider with his 
lawyer, Mr. Estcourt. Mr. Pitt then and ever after- 
wards showed him the most generous kindness. He 
bestowed on him the best office in his gift as Lord 
Warden, the Lieutenancy of Dover Castle, which had 
annexed to it a salary of several hundred pounds a 
year, and which, though my father thought right to 
resign it on succeeding to the Peerage, was usually held 
for life. 

Here are two selected from several letters addressed 
by Mr. Pitt at this time to his young relative. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Mahon. 

Walmer Castle, Feb. 22, 1803. 

Dear Mahon, — Your account of the communication you 
have received through Murray has given me great and 
unexpected pleasure. If Lord S. continues in the dis- 
position he has expressed, it must, I think, enable you to 
settle your affairs on a footing much more satisfactory, both 
for the present and the future, than could otherwise be in 
your power. 

If once the business is put in a course of reference, I 
should hope you might, without inconvenience, make another 
visit to this place and initiate yourself in the mysteries of the 




Court of Load Manage. 1 I shall rejoice much if Lord Car- 
rington is able to accompany you ; and I hope he will take 
up his quarters here, which he will find more comfortable 
than going to an uninhabited house. You see by this pro- 
posal that I have no thoughts of moving from hence at 
present. Indeed, if I can escape from the call of the House, 
which I hope will not be difficult, I shall probably be tempted 
to stay here for at least three or four weeks longer. The 
weather and the scene from my ramparts are now both de- 
lightful, and what no one can well form an idea of in the 
atmosphere of London. Many thanks for your books, 
which I have great pleasure in placing in my library. I 
must conclude here in order to pay my daily visit to my 
farm, which is going on most prosperously, though without 
the aid of the ' Farmer's Calendar.' 

Ever affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

Walmer Castle, March 15, 1803. 

Dear Mahon, — Thanks to a rainy morning which stops 
the plough, I enclose at length the epistle to Madame la 
Margrave. 2 

Having made this happy beginning, I hope to go on 
paying my debts to my correspondents daily. 

I have not yet fixed any time for leaving this place, and 
begin to hope that I may prolong my stay till towards the 
middle or latter end of April. I shall be happy to see you 
here again as soon as suits your other engagements ; but I 
think if you go to the Levee to-morrow, it would be rather 
better to stay over the Drawing-Room in next week. In 
the mean time I hope you will be able to make some pro- 
gress with Estcourt. 

Ever affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

.Meanwhile the Houses of Parliament were in active 
Session. One of the first affairs that came before the 
Commons was a new debt which, after some coy demur, 
was acknowledged by the Prince of Wales. His Royal 
Highness had also put forward to the Government a 

1 The Load Manage is or was the Cinque-Port Court for the ap- 
pointmenl and regulation of pilots. 

2 Of Brandenburg Bareith, who resided at Erlaog. Lord Mahon 
had brought over a letter from Her Serene Highness to Mr. Pitt. 


claim to the arrears of the Duchy of Cornwall previous 
to his coming of age ; and when Lord Castlereagh went 
to Bath, Addington had sent down by him a message 
requesting to know Pitt's opinion, whether it would be 
right to make a compromise upon the case. ' My 
opinion,' said Pitt, 'inclines against a compromise. 
If the arrears are due, let them be paid. If not, the 
question of setting the Prince's income free should be 
considered separately.' 

Nor was Pitt much inclined to a vote for the latter 
object. ' These debts,' — so he wrote to Eose on the 
8th of March, — 'have been contracted in the teeth of 
the last Act of Parliament, and in breach of repeated 
and positive promises.' The Ministers, however, took 
a more indulgent view. They brought down a Royal 
Message, and induced the House of Commons to vote, 
for the discharge of the Prince's liabilities, the sum of 
60,000£. annually, to be continued for three years. 

It must be owned, I think, considering the large 
debts which were from time to time announced, both 
on the King's and on the Prince's part, that the public 
had some right to complain of the result. There was 
very little of splendour in the King's Court, and very 
little of morality in the Prince's. 

But at this time all other topics were cast into the 
shade by the growing importance of the dissensions 
with France. New grounds of complaint had been 
alleged on either side. The English were much of- 
fended at the mission, by the First Consul, of Colonel 
Sebastiani to Egypt. His report was published in the 
Moniteur on the 30th of January ; it contained many 
unjust aspersions upon the English army, and declared 
that the whole people was sighing for the return of the 
French. Six thousand French troops, it was added, 
would be sufficient to conquer the country. 

On the other hand, the French might complain that 
they found us tardy in evacuating Alexandria, and un- 
willing to relinquish Malta at all. They applied to 


us on this occasion a parody on the form of oatli 
administered in England, and said that they required 
' the Treaty of Amiens, the whole Treaty of Amiens, and 
nothing but the Treaty of Amiens.' In answer we 
declared that we had no intention to violate the treaty, 
and no wish to misconstrue its meaning. But see what 
aggressive steps had been taken by the Government of 
France, and what ambitious schemes avowed. See 
how since the Treaty it had grasped the dominion both 
of Piedmont and of Switzerland. So long as the First 
Consul continued to add every day to his power and 
strength, we could not be expected to show any readi- 
ness in decreasing ours, and least of all in the Medi- 
terranean. We could not give up Malta without some 
safeguards — such as were stipulated at Amiens — that 
the possession of it would not be immediately resumed 
by the Cabinet of the Tuileries. 

On this whole subject Lord Whitworth had an inter- 
view with the First Consul on the 18th of February. 
The conversation, or rather the monologue (for Lord 
Whitworth, as he stated, could put in very few words), 
was continued for two hours. Through nearly the 
whole of it General Bonaparte held a tone of menace 
and dictation such as English Ministers have never been 
accustomed to hear. Jt was language which betokened 
great irritation on the one side, and which tended to 
produce it on the other. 

As to the Treaty of Amiens, the First Consul declared, 
on this occasion, that he must insist on its literal fulfil- 
ment. He would rather, he said, see us in possession of 
th«; Faubourg St. Antoine than in possession of Malta! 
Here is the comment of M. Thiers, who repeats the 
story from Lord Whit worth's despatch, only transferr- 
ing the name to Montmartre: ' Effroyable parole, 
qui 8^ est trap realisee, pour le malhear de notre 
patriel ' ' 

In the same conversation General Bonaparte com- 
1 Jlistoirc du Coimilat et de V 'Empire, vol. iv. p. 2i»8. 


plained anew of the libels that were published in London. 
There were two French newspapers, he added, paid by 
ns to abuse him. Every wind, he said, which blew from 
England brought him only some fresh instance of our 
distrust and dislike. 

The English Government, as I have shown, had long 
since directed the prosecution of Peltier by the Attorney- 
General, but nothing had as yet ensued from it. Un- 
happily the system of procrastination seems to be in- 
herent in the law of England far more than in the law 
of any other country. Peltier's case was so much de- 
layed, and the interval grew so wide between his offence 
and his conviction, that when the latter came at last, it 
entirely failed in removing the sense of injury which 
the former had aroused. 

The trial of Peltier did not in fact come on till three 
days after the interview at the Tuileries which I have 
just related. On the 21st of February he appeared 
before Lord Ellenborough and a special jury. The 
alleged libels were easily brought home to him. He 
was defended in a most brilliant speech by Mr. Mackin- 
tosh, afterwards Sir James ; but the jury, without a mo- 
ment's hesitation, found him Guilty. Sentence against 
him was deferred ; and from the progress of events in 
France, sentence against him in fact never was pro- 

On the very same day on which Peltier was tried in 
London, an event occurred at Paris tending in no small 
decree to widen the breach between the two countries. 
According to the practice of that period, the First Consul 
sent down to the Corps Legislatif an annual statement 
or expose of the affairs of the Kepublic. Of his nearest 
neighbours he allowed himself to speak as follows: — 
' The Government may say with just pride that England 
alone is unable at the present time to contend against 
France.' How far this statement was well founded is 
best shown by the events of the next succeeding years. 
But whether or not well founded, there could be none 


more certain to call forth the resentment of the nation 
so slightly esteemed. 

The menacing language which General Bonaparte 
had used — both in private and in public, on the 1 8th 
and on the 21st — seemed the more momentous when 
his genius and energy of action were considered. It 
derived fresh importance also from the news that came, 
of armaments on an extensive scale preparing in the 
ports both of France and Holland. St. Domingo was 
alleged as the object, but it was natural that some ap- 
prehensions should be felt for England. Lord Chatham 
anxiously communicated to Mr. Pitt the full details of 
the last despatches, and here is Mr. Pitt's reply : — 

Walmer Castle, March 2, 1803. 

My dear Brother, — I thank you very much for your 
letter, winch I have just received. It is the greatest satis- 
faction to me to find that our opinions on what is pending 
(as indeed I expected they would) so nearly coincide ; and 
that Government is adopting what appears to me to be the 
wisest line that the circumstances admit. The Consul's own 
language certainly seems like the result of anything rather 
than settled determination or system, and is so incoherent 
and \inaccountable as to leave some chance that he may be 
only bullying, and that firmness here may lead him to give 
way. But I own I rather think that the same extravagance 
and passion which appears in his conversation will govern 
his conduct, and will hurry him into extremities, though 
perhaps against his judgment. 

At all events I am sure you will agree with me, that we 
ought to be prepared for the possibility both of an imme- 
diate rupture and for his following it up, or rather ac- 
companying it, by attempting to strike in the first instance 
some sudden blow on any vulnerable point. 1 conclude this 
will be so strongly felt that no time will be lost in putting 
into immediate readiness whatever means we possess, and 
especially those of floating defence on the coast, on which so 
much of our security against a covp <h main must depend. 
I shall be much obliged to you for letting me know when 
anything material arises, which may probably be very soon. 
In the mean time pray have the goodness to send me one 


line saying whether our troops are likely to he still in Alex- 
andria. I rather fear, from what I understand in town, 
that an order had been sent to withdraw them, which it will 
now he too late to countermand. The new system announced 
to be forming for Turkey, joined to the Consul's language 
about that country, seems to make this a point of double 

I am continuing to gain ground every day that I stay 
here, which I hope to be able to do till towards the end of 
the month, when I shall probably move for a few weeks to 

Ever affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

Pitt, as we have seen, had strictly enjoined his brother 
not to show his letters ; but it may be doubted whether 
at this period his injunction was observed. It may be 
thought that to Addington at least his letters were pro- 
bably shown. Certain it is that when, in conversation 
on the 9th of March, Addington was asked by Lord 
Malmesbury whether the new course of vigour upon 
which the Government had just entered was known and 
approved by Pitt, Addington answered that it was. 
Now it does not appear that Pitt was at that time in 
correspondence with any of the Ministers except Lord 
Chatham, or that Addington could have derived his 
information from any other source. 1 

Emboldened by their previous knowledge of Pitt's 
opinions, the Ministers had decided on prompt and 
energetic measures. Addington was in high spirits. 
On the morning of the 8th, when he met Lord Malmes- 
bury in Hyde Park, he gaily called out to him in 
French, l Tout va Men ; vous serez content cle nous? 
On the afternoon of the same day he carried down to 
the House of Commons a Message from the King. His 
Majesty announced the very considerable military pre- 
parations in the ports of France and Holland, and de- 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 225. In another pas- 
sage (p. 276) Lord Malmesbury explains the matter more simply by 
impeaching the veracity of Addington ; an explanation which I 
altogether reject. 


clared that he judged it expedient to adopt additional 
measures of precaution. 

Next day, the 9th, Addresses in reply from both 
Houses, assuring- His Majesty of their loyal support, 
were moved and carried without one dissentient voice. 
On the 10th there was another Message from the King, 
with a view to call out the Militia; and on the 11th 
there was carried in the Commons a vote for ten thou- 
sand additional men in the sea-service. Thus it will be 
seen that no energy was spared, and no time was lost. 

Unhappily, however, the Message of the 8th of March 
gave most dire offence to the First Consul. On the 
13th Lord Whitworth went as usual to the public re- 
ception at the Tuileries. There, he says, ' the First 
Consul accosted me evidently under very considerable 

agitation He immediately said, " And so you are 

determined to go to war." " No," I replied, " we are too 
sensible of the advantages of peace." "Nous avons" 
said he, " deja fait la guerre 'pendant qulnze cms" As 
he seemed to wait for an answer, I observed only, " (Ten 
est deja trap." " Mais," said he, " vous voulez la faire 
encore quinze ans, et vous rfCy forcezT ' General Bona- 
parte made also other remarks, in a highly offended tone, 
on our alleged infraction of the treaty. ' All this,' 
adds Lord Whitworth, 'passed loud enough to be over- 
heard by two hundred persons who were present.' 

Nevertheless the great question was by no means yet 
decided. Negotiations for some satisfactory adjustment 
of the points at issue were still pursued at Paris, with a 
diminished expectation indeed, but no diminished wish 
for peace. 

It was natural that at such a crisis the eyes of 
Englishmen should turn to their greatest living states- 
man. It was natural that they should desire to see 
him again at the helm. ' Pitt's return talked of and 
wished,' — so wrote Wilberforce on the 8th. Nearly in 
the same strain spoke Pitt's old enemy Philip Francis. 
On the 11th of March he expressed himself as follows 


in the House of Commons : ' To the Ministers person- 
ally I have no sort of objection. For some among them I 
have great personal regard ; to none of them the smallest 
personal ill-will. But this is no time for compliments. 

The country is surrounded with difficulties, 

exposed to distresses, and possibly approaching a con- 
test for its existence. In this awful situation, whether 
I advert to some who are present or to others who are 
absent, the melancholy and astonishing fact is, that out 
of the councils and government of the country, at such 
a moment as this, all' the eminent abilities of England 
are excluded. In fair weather a moderate share of skill 
may be sufficient. For the storm that seems to be 
coming, other pilots should be provided. If the ship 
sinks, we must all go down with it.' 

Addington himself was by no means insensible to the 
wishes which he heard expressed around him. He saw 
the dangers that were looming in the distance. Pie 
saw that the time was come to invite the return of Pitt 
to office. But in the first instance he devised a middle 
course. Neither Pitt nor yet himself was to be Prime 
Minister. Pitt and Addington were to be Secretaries 
of State, with an option to Pitt, if he should prefer it, 
to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. Above them there 
was to be a First Lord of the Treasury personally wel- 
come to both, and as a person fulfilling that condition 
Addington had thought of Lord Chatham. It was 
further contemplated among the other newarrangements, 
should they take effect, that Lord St. Vincent, who was 
filling his office very badly, and who desired to be 
relieved from it, should be replaced at the Admiralty 
by Lord Melville. 

Lord Melville himself entered into the design with 
zeal, and undertook to be the channel of its communi- 
cation. Accordingly he set out for Walmer Castle, 
where he arrived on the morning of Sunday the 20th. 
Some weeks later, as we shall see, Pitt related the scene 
to Wilberforce ; and in after years Wilberforce used to 


tell his friends of it as follows : ' Dundas was confiding 
in liis knowledge of all Pitt's whys and feelings, and 
after dinner and port wine began cautiously to open 
his proposals. But he saw it would not do, and stopped 
abruptly. " Really," said Pitt, with a sly severity — and 
it was almost the only sharp thing I ever heard him say 
of any friend — " I had not the curiosity to ask what I 
was to be." ' ' 

But although the conversation might in this manner 
be cut short on the first evening, Pitt did not refuse 
next day to hear and to consider the proposals of his 
friend. He met them, however, with a decided negative. 
His view of the whole subject is most clearly explained 
in a letter which Lord Melville wrote to Addington at 
Pitt's desire, and it may be said under his dictation. It 
has been published by Dean Pellew, from the original 
among Lord Sidmouth's papers ; and there is also a 
copy among Mr. Pitt's. 

Lord Melville to Mr. Addington. 

Walmer Castle, March 22, 1803. 

My dear Sir, — I arrived here on Sunday, and found Mr. 
Pitt much improved in point of health. He was alone, and 
there was no interruption in conversing with him on the 
various topics touched upon in my interview with you on 
Friday last. As matter of private gratification, Mr Pitt lias 
the reverse of any wish to return to official situation ; and 
if the present administration prove themselves competent 
to carry on the government with reasonable prospect of suc- 
cess, and are determined after wards to adhere to those 
leading principles of foreign and domestic policy which he 
has long considered essential, his wishes to be able to sup- 
port them out of office are precisely the same they were at 
their first formation. He does not, however, disguise from 
me that many tilings have occurred, both in relation to their 
transactions with Foreign Powers (so far as he has the means 
of judging of them) and with regard to the financial operations 
and statements of the Treasury, which have given him 

1 Life <>f W'ilberforcc, by liis Sons, vol. iii. p. 219. 


sincere concern ; and if it were not under the circumstances 
of the present critical moment of the country, he douLts how- 
far, considering the connexion he has had for these many 
years with its financial affairs, he was at liberty to refrain so 
long from stating to the public the fatal errors which he is 
satisfied exist in the statement made with regard to the 
amount of the national revenue compared with the charges 
upon it. As things now stand, he is induced, from all these 
considerations, for the present at least, to adhere to the 
resolution of continuing his residence where he is, and re- 
fraining from taking part in the discussions of Parliament. 

I did not conceal from him the idea you mentioned of 
his returning to a share of the Government, with a person 
of rank and consideration at the head of it perfectly 
agreeable to him, and I even specified the person you had 
named. But there was no room for any discussion on that 
part of the subject, for he stated at once, without reserve or 
affectation, his feelings with regard to any proposition 
founded on such a basis. The uncertain state of his health 
makes him still doubt how far in any case he could be 
justified in undertaking a lead in public affairs, under the 
difficulties now existing or impending. The moment of a 
negotiation still in suspense, he thinks in every view unfit 
for his taking part; but in any event nothing could induce 
him to come forward except an urgent sense of public duty, 
and a distinct knowledge that his services (such as they may 
be) are wished and thought essential, both in the highest 
quarter and by all those with whom (in consequence of any 
arrangements that might be formed on that ground) he 
might have to act confidentially. He is firmly of opinion 
that he could not, on this supposition, have any chance 
of answering his own ideas of being useful to the country in 
one of the great points on which he lays a principal stress, 
but by returning to the management of its finances. 

Besides this consideration, he stated, not less pointedly 
and decidedly, his sentiments with regard to the absolute 
necessity there is in the conduct of the affairs of this 
country, that there should be an avowed and real Minister, 
possessing the chief weight in the council, and the principal 
place in the confidence of the King. In that respect there 
can be no rivality or division of power. That power must 
rest in the person generally called the First Minister, and 


that Minister ought, he thinks, to be the person at the head 
of the finances. He knows, to his own comfortable ex- 
perience, that notwithstanding the abstract truth of that 
general proposition, it is noways incompatible with the most 
cordial concert and mutual exchange of advice ami inter- 
course amongst the different branches of executive depart- 
ments ; but still if it should come unfortunately to such a 
radical difference of opinion that no spirit of conciliation or 
concession can reconcile, the sentiments of the Minister 
must be allowed and understood to prevail, leaving the 
other members of administration to act as they may conceive 
themselves conscientiously called upon to act under such 
circumstances. During the last administration such a col- 
lision of opinion I believe scarcely ever happened, or, at 
least, was not such as the parties felt themselves obliged to 
push to extremities ; but still it is possible, and the only 
remedy applicable to it is in the principle which I havo 

In a conversation of two days, which involved in it the 
discussion of such a variety of topics, it is impossible to 
give you more than an abstract or very general outline of 
the heads of our conversation. I have made it merely a re- 
cital, not intermixed with any comments, opinions, or sug- 
gestions of my own. You expressed a wish to hear from 
me without any delay ; and I trust the explanation I have 
given you is perfectly sufficient to convey to you such a view 
of the subject as may enable you to draw your own con- 
clusions and regulate your own determination. 

Yours sincerely and affectionately, Melville. 

To this communication I shall subjoin another, 
written only three days afterwards : 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Chatham. 

Walmer Castle, March 25, 1803. 
My dear Brother, — I was much obliged to you for the 
letter which Lord Melville brought me. By this time I 
hope you may have received an answer which may give 
some prospect of ending so anxious a state of suspense. I 
feel, however, with you how difficult and delicate it- may be 
to bring the discussion speedily to a satisfactory and decisive 
point, though on the other hand the danger is evident of 


allowing Bonaparte time to strengthen whatever part of his 
preparations in Europe and abroad is now defective ; after 
which he will probably choose his own moment for carrying 
his terms (whatever they may then be) or going to war. 
Much of course must depend on the explanation which you 
can give to the public of the ground on which you can 
take your stand. 

I do not know whether you are apprised of the conversa- 
tion which Addington held with Lord Melville previous to 
his coming here, or have talked with the latter since his 
return. My sentiments on the subject are such as I could 
have no difficulty in stating without reserve, and are con- 
tained in a letter for Addington, which Lord Melville wrote 
from hence, and which he will at any time show you. I 
trust you will think that my opinions could not be different 
from what you will there find them. I am still undecided 
about Bath ; but unless Farquhar really lays great stress on 
it, I think I am better, and I am sure I am more comfortable, 
where I am. 

Ever affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

Addington had by no means expected this positive 
determination on the part of Pitt. But as a highly 
honourable man he took a self-denying course. He 
resolved that no pretensions of his own should stand in 
the way of the public good in the return of Pitt to 
office. For that object he resolved to make any sacrifice 
short of the entire dissolution of the Government. He 
applied at once to Mr. Long as a most intimate friend 
both of Pitt and himself. At his request that gentle- 
man set out for Walmer Castle, the bearer of a message 
that Mr. Addington desired to reinstate Mr. Pitt as 
Prime Minister, if in a personal interview, which he 
hoped might speedily take place, their general ideas of 
the new system should be found to coincide. 

Mr. Long arrived at Walmer on the 29th, and re- 
mained only a single night. On hearing the message 
thus conveyed, Pitt readily agreed to the interview 
proposed. He undertook to meet Addington at Bromley 
Hill on Sunday the 10th of next month. But as Mr. 



Long was getting into his chaise to return to town, he 
saw Lord Grrenville drive up to the gate. To that visit 
Addington in his own mind attached no small import- 
ance. To that visit — to the influence exerted at that 
juncture by Lord Grrenville — Addington ever afterwards 
ascribed the ill-success of the negotiation which ensued. 1 

Nor was Addington, I think, wrong in this conjecture. 
There is on record, and there has since been published 
under the title of * Lord Grenville's Narrative,' a full 
statement drawn up by himself of the conversations 
which he held at Walmer. 2 It appears from his own 
account how hostile to Addington was his language, and 
how uncompromising was the course which he advised. 
Thus for instance — speaking in the name also of Lord 
Spencer, Mr. Windham, and his other immediate friends 
— he said to Mr. Pitt that under the present circum- 
stances of public difficulty they might consent to sit in 
the same Cabinet with Mr. Addington and Lord Hawkes- 
bury. ' But,' he added, ' I see very little probability of 
our agreeing to extend that acquiescence so far as to 
their holding any efficient offices of real business.' It 
seems, then, that if Grenville's negative should prevail, 
Pitt was to declare that neither Addington, nor yet 
Hawkesbury — neither the Prime Minister in presenti, 
nor the Prime Minister as it chanced in futuro — were 
worthy of the office of a Secretary of State, which the 
first expected, and which the latter already held ! 

Mr. Long, on his return to London, addressed to 
Pitt the following account of his further communica- 
tions with the Ministry. 

Mr. Long to Mr. Pitt. 

Bromley Hill, April 3, 1803. 
Dear Pitt, — I am anxious to give you some account of 
what passed between Addington and myself upon my re- 
turn, reserving details upon the whole subject till we meet. 
He seemed extremely anxious that you should not consider 

1 Life of Lord Sid munrt //, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 118. 

2 See The Courts and Cabinets of George III. vol. iii. pp. 282-290. 


a pending negotiation as any obstacle to coming forward at 
the present moment, but it is hardly necessary to say what 
he stated upon this subject, because he has since altered his 
opinion, and rather thinks the fit time would be when the 
negotiation is brought to a point either way, which (in con- 
junction with Lord Hawkesbury, Lord Castlereagh, and 
your brother) he is satisfied will be determined before you 
meet at Bromley Hill. Upon the whole question of arrange- 
ment he seemed disposed to adopt what you had authorised 
me to state, not as anything settled, but as a general idea 
upon the subject, but at the same time expressed great 
difficulties about Lord Hobart (none about Lord Pelham). 
He ended this part of the subject by saying that of course 
you were the best judge of those persons who had claims 
upon you, but that he trusted you would not decide any- 
thing upon this point (if the thing proceeded to that length) 
without also considering the fair pretensions of those who 
had claims upon him. I instanced Bragge, Smyth, Lord C. 
Spencer, and Wickham, as persons accidentally placed in 
the situations they held, and whom it might be necessary to 
call upon to give way : he admitted the justice of what I 
said upon all these persons, and of the possible necessary 
arrangement respecting them, but added that he believed 
the last particularly agreeable to the Chancellor of Ireland 
and the Lord Lieutenant, and also well qualified for his 
office. With respect to Lord Grenville, he thought it im- 
possible to admit him or any of his friends at the present 
moment without a marked degradation of himself and his 
colleagues, but that he could not mean to proscribe them, or 
to preclude you from taking whatever assistance you thought 
right at any future time. I then mentioned Canning and 
Rose : he said the first had been personally offensive to him ; 
but upon my submitting to him whether he could justify the 
suffering even personal offence to stand in the way of what 
he had taken so much pains to convince me was a necessary 
public arrangement, he seemed very much softened upon this 
point, and with respect to Rose he stated no objection. 
There was no difficulty in leaving the vacancies at the 
Treasury, provided something else was done for Broderick, 
for whom he had pledged himself to provide. He then 
showed me a letter from Lord St. Vincent, requesting, on 
account of his state of health, that he woidd find him a 

i 2 


successor as soon as he conveniently could, and expressed a 
wish to send the papers which referred to the points upon 
which you desired information. It is very probable you 
may want further information upon these subjects, which of 
course you cm have at Bromley Hill. 

I saw Lord Castlereagh the next day : very anxious that 
you should be induced to come into the proposal, even 
during negotiation, if, contrary to all appearances, it should 
be protracted. He argued the cases of war, of peace, and 
of protracted negotiation very ably, as each affording suffi- 
cient grounds for your placing yourself at the head of the 
Government. If we were led into war, no person could 
conduct it with effect but yourself. You could prevent the 
negotiation spinning out to a disadvantageous length ; and 
in peace the state of parties was the ground upon which he 
urged the necessity of your taking the Government. 
Neither he nor Lord Hawkesbiiry concealed from me the 
necessity of a change. Lord H. was of opinion Lord 
Grenville could not possibly come in under this arrange- 
ment, but seemed to think there would not be any difficulty 
at a future period. ... I have made some endeavours to 
obtain the opinion of the City : as far as I have been able to 
ascertain it, it is uniform — a very strong wish that you 
should take the lead in Government, but an almost equally 
strong opinion that Grenville should be no part of it. 
Thornton gave me some strong grounds for supposing this 
was the general opinion upon both points ; but as I know 
how often people give their own opinion as the public 
opinion, only for the purpose of strengthening it, I receive a 
public opinion with some caution. At the same time I 
have heard the [same] from so many quarters, that I believe 
it is not mistaken ; and there ls one point at least in which 
I think you will concur with me — that pending the negotia- 
tion it would be extremely prejudicial to yourself to take 
office with Grenville; for if it ended in war, his influence 
would be supposed to have occasioned it ; and things are 
certainly in that state in which it is the general wish that 
we should at least give ourselves every fair chance of pre- 
serving peace 

I have only had time to scribble this as fast as I could 
since Huskisson told me he was going to Walmer. I hope 
you will find it intelligible. Ever yours, C. L. 


On the 3rd of April, the same day on which Mr. 
Long wrote the letter which I have just inserted, the 
Dowager Countess of Chatham died at Burton Pynsent. 
So far as I can trace, there had been no previous illness 
to cause alarm, and her sons were not summoned to 
attend her. Mr. Kose, who was alone with Mr. Pitt at 
Walmer Castle, has an entry in his journal as follows : — 
4 April 8, 1803. Mr. Pitt talked a good deal to me 
respecting the death of his mother, and of feelings 
awakened by that event.' 

Of Lady Chatham it is stated by a contemporary 
writer : ' Her death is severely felt by the poor cot- 
tagers in the neighbourhood. During the inclement 
season her Ladyship's bounty was the means of their 
very existence. When in health it was no uncommon 
thing to meet her in the park of Burton Pynsent during 
the coldest weather carrying a bundle containing neces- 
saries for the relief of the indigent. She has often been 
seen to enter the abode of distress with blankets, warm 
clothing, and food, which she has ordered liberally to 
be distributed.' l It is added that the only return she 
ever asked from these poor people was their regular 
attendance on Sundays in the parish church. We are 
further told that her bounty was by no means confined 
to her own neighbourhood, but was ' continually di- 
rected to the relief of individuals in different parts of 
the kingdom.' 

The remains of this much respected and lamented 
lady being conveyed from Burton Pynsent to Lady 
Warren's house in Kensington Gore, were, on the 16th 
of April, interred in Westminster Abbey. They were 
placed in the same vault as those of her husband and of 
her eldest daughter. In that vault Mr. Pitt was subse- 
quently laid ; in that vault also the second Earl and the 
second Countess of Chatham. 

1 Ann. Register, 1803, p. 384. 




Interview between Pitt and Addington — Pitt's proposals negatived 
by the Cabinet — The King's displeasure with Pitt— Comments 
of Fox — Review of the negotiation — Ultimatum of the British 
Government rejected by the First Consul — War with France de- 
clared — Pitt resumes his attendance in the House of Commons — 
Great speeches of Pitt and Fox — Proposed mediation of Russia 
— Tierney appointed Treasurer of the Navy — Proposed votes of 
censure — Canning's satirical poems — The Budget — Charles 
Yorke's plan for the defence of the country— The Military Ser- 
vice Bill — The Property Duty Bill — The Volunteers — Renewed 
conspiracies in Ireland — Murder of Lord Kilwarden. 

Both to attend his mother's funeral, and to keep his 
appointment with the First Lord of the Treasury, Pitt 
set out from Walmer Castle on the 9th of April, and 
proceeded to Bromley Hill. Next day, according to pro- 
mise, Addington appeared. A long conversation ensued. 
Pitt began by saying that if any change was to be 
made, it must be by the King's desire. He must receive, 
in the first place, His Majesty's express commands, and 
must hold himself at liberty to submit for His Majesty's 
consideration a list of persons from both the late and 
the present administration. He must also hold himself 
• at liberty to communicate fully with Lord Grenville 
and Lord Spencer respecting the arrangement. And he 
must further stipulate that the arrangement should not 
take place till the foreign negotiation should be com- 
pletely over, and the question of peace or war be 

To all these preliminaries Addington cheerfully 
agreed. But he expressed an anxious hope that Pitt 
would not insist on restoring Lord Grenville, Lord 
Spencer, and Mr. Windham to office. He could not 
forget how keen and thorough-going was the opposition 
which he had so recently encountered from them. The 
answer of Pitt on this point gave him little satisfaction. 


Nor was he much better pleased with the idea which 
Pitt threw out relating to himself. Pitt suggested 
that Addington should accept a peerage, together with 
the Speakership of the House of Lords. The Speaker- 
ship in the Lords would therefore be disjoined from 
the office of Chancellor, but the income of it was to be 
made up to the holder of the Great Seal. Such a 
separation of Parliamentary and judicial duties had 
often been desired as conducive to the public interest. 
To effect it on this occasion would be to effect a most 
wise reform. It would place Addington in a situation, 
not indeed of political power, but of authority and 
dignity, exactly similar to that which he had filled with 
such general applause during nearly twelve years. 

Addington, though a good deal mortified at this pro- 
posal, did not then enlarge upon it. But he again 
expressed his apprehension that the return of the 
Grenvilles would have an unfavourable effect upon the 
public mind. Finally he took his leave and returned to 
London, wishing to have time, as indeed Pitt advised 
him, to reflect on the whole plan. 

On the 11th Pitt called on Rose at his house in 
Palace Yard, and communicated to him what had passed 
the day before. He then returned to Bromley Hill. 
There, on the evening of the 12th, he received a note 
from the Prime Minister. Addington wrote that he 
desired to consult the Cabinet, and would do so the 
next day. Of his personal position he said that he 
had 'insurmountable objections' to the Speakership of 
the House of Lords ; but that if the arrangement took 
effect, he would most readily and willingly sacrifice all 
pretensions of his own. Some enemies of Addington 
have looked upon this self-abnegation as only simu- 
lated ; for my part, I am persuaded that it was quite 

Addington, in the same note, proposed to go again 
to Bromley Hill on the 14th, and added, ' In the mean 
time I shall entertain the hope that you may not feel it 


necessary to adhere in its full extent to the proposition 
which you have made.' 

In replying to this note Pitt discouraged a second 
visit, since he said that he had nothing to add to the 
explicit statement which Addington had already heard, 
and since his opinion on that point could not admit of 

Meanwhile, on the 13th, the Cabinet met at Lord 
Chatham's house; and on the 14th Addington made 
known by letter the result to Pitt. The advice of his col- 
leagues, he said, was wholly in the negative. They felt 
— so wrote their chief — that the interests of the public 
would be injuriously affected by the declared opinions 
of some of those who were proposed to be comprehended 
in the new arrangement. To the copy which he kept 
of this letter, Lord Sidmouth subsequently added, in his 
own hand, the note, ' namely, Lord Grrenville and Mr. 
Windham.' But even without such a comment the 
allusion was abundantly clear. Mr. Pitt, on the spur of 
the moment, replied only as follows : 

Bromley Hill, April 14, 1803. 
My dear Sir, — I need only acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter, and am Yours sincerely, W. Pitt. 

Next day, however, it occurred to Pitt, that since the 
last proposal to him and his reply had passed only in 
private conversation, they were liable to be misappre- 
hended or misconstrued. He therefore wrote again, 
and at some length, to Mr. Addington, not at all — and 
this he was careful to explain — as seeking to renew the 
late negotiation, which, on the contrary, he said he 
considered ' now finally and absolutely closed,' but 
only as desiring to recapitulate and place beyond dis- 
pute its principal points. Addington replied at length, 
and some further correspondence, in part of a con- 
troversial kind, ensued between them. 

Mr. Pitt, after attending his mother's funeral on the 
16th, had remained in town two days. On the 18th he 


dined at the Bishop of Lincoln's, where he met only Mr. 
Kose. He proceeded to pass a day with Lord Grenville 
at Dropmore, and then one or two with Lord Carrington 
at High Wycombe. It was from Wycombe, and on the 
21st, that he wrote again to Mr. Addington, in rejoinder 
to the last communication. 

Politicians of all shades were now eager for some 
statement of what had passed. The accounts which 
Pitt gave on the one part, and Addington gave on the 
other, were found to differ in some of the details. 
These were of slight importance, and as Lord Macaulay 
well observes, by no means such as to imply any in- 
tentional violation of truth on either side. For, as 
Lord Macaulay goes on to say, such a dispute often 
arises after negotiations conducted by word of mouth, 
even when the negotiators are men of the strictest 
honour. 1 

The two statesmen were, however, much incensed 
against each other. The progress of their alienation 
may be traced even in the forms of their correspondence. 
At the beginning of the year Pitt had always subscribed 
himself to Addington ' Yours affectionately.' From 
Bromley Hill it was ' Yours sincerely ; ' and from 
Wycombe Abbey it grew to be ' Dear Sir, your faith- 
ful and obedient servant.' In his replies Addington 
always acted Regis ad exemplar — that is, exactly con- 
formed in this respect to the varying precedents of 

It was not till the 20th of the month that Mr. Ad- 
dington stated, in any manner, the transaction to the 
King. This was at an audience after His Majesty's 
Levee. The King might well feel a little chafed at 
being no earlier considted. But the fault of this, if any, 
was certainly with the Prime Minister. Nevertheless 
the Royal displeasure seems to have turned wholly 
against the retired statesman. ' He desires to put the 
Crown in commission — he carries his plan of removals 

1 Biographies, p. 219, ed. 1860. 


so extremely far and high that it might reach me ; ' 
such are the expressions recorded of George the Third 
upon this occasion. A caustic French proverb, — less 
untrue than we might wish it to be — les absens out 
toujours tort, — may, perhaps, occur to the reader's 

The object of Mr. Pitt in his communication of the 
21st from High Wycombe, and in another subsequently, 
was to request of Addington that if he mentioned the 
matter at all to the King — as Pitt presumed that he 
must — he would lay before His Majesty all the letters 
which had passed. This Addington promised to do, 
and did accordingly on the 27th. But the King refused 
to read the letters, or to take any notice of them. Two 
days afterwards he said to Lord Pelham, 'It is a 
foolish business from one end to the other. It was 
begun ill, conducted ill, and terminated ill.' l 

The comment of Mr. Fox in his private correspond- 
ence is not a little bitter, and, as I think, not a little 
unfair to Mr. Pitt. On the 1st of April he writes thus 
to Mr. Grey : — ' There is some talk of Pitt, but I be- 
lieve all idle. He knows his own insignificance, and 
does not like showing it.' But the friends of Mr. Fox 
have since found it more convenient to reverse his 
ground of accusation. Instead of * consciousness of 
insignificance,' they have put it ' arrogant assumption 
of merit.' 

It is alleged, in the private journal kept by Mr. Abbot, 
that ' the conduct of Mr. Pitt in the whole transaction 
is very much disapproved by Lords Melville, Chatham, 
Castlereagh, Hawkesbury, and Mr. Steele.' Of this 
sweeping statement, however, I find no confirmation in 
any of the private letters of that time ; and it is cer- 
tainly at variance with the subsequent conduct of some 
at least of the persons named. The remark of the 
Duke of York at the same period is repeated by Lord 
Malmesbury, not on hearsay or on rumour, but as 
1 Maries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 187. 


addressed to himself : — ' In my own view of the 
transaction, both parties were in the wrong. It has 
been so managed as to put Pitt's return to office, 
though more necessary than ever, at a greater distance 
than ever.' 

On reviewing this affair with no difficult calmness, 
now that the scene is wholly changed, and that all the 
actors have passed away, we may perhaps be inclined 
to reverse the Duke of York's opinion, and to say that 
both parties were in the right. Both appear to me to 
have acted with entire rectitude and honour. Both 
appear to me to have shown the most scrupulous fidelity 
to their personal friends. Pitt cannot be censured for 
his determination to submit to the King, on again be- 
coming his Prime Minister, a list of the best and ablest 
Ministry which it was in his power to form. He would 
not have fulfilled his bounden duty to his Sovereign 
had he, in commercial phrase, offered a second-rate 
article when he might have secured a first-rate. As 
little can Addington be blamed for adhering to the 
principles of his own government, and seeking to ex- 
clude from office, even on strictly public grounds, the 
statesmen who had bitterly opposed and reviled that 
government on the great question of the peace, and on 
every other question during the last year and a half. 
The charges of arrogance on Pitt's side, and of duplicity 
on Addington's, when we examine them, fall alike to 
the ground. It is clear, when we strip away the 
accessories, and come to the bone and marrow of this 
negotiation, that it failed, solely from one point — from 
the proposal of including Lord Grenville and Mr. 
Windham in the new arrangement. The upshot is 
then that in April, 1803, Pitt was unwilling to return 
to office unless it were open to him to propose to his 
Sovereign that he should return with the Grenvilles. 
It is a fact that may deserve to be compared with the 
same regard shown by the elder Pitt to the elder Grren- 
ville, then Earl Temple, in May, 1765. It may also 


deserve to be borne in mind when we proceed to the 
events of May, 1804. 

From Wycombe Abbey Mr. Pitt went again to 
Bromley Hill, and from Bromley paid a visit to Wil- 
derness. Thence, after some days, he returned to 
Walmer Castle. Some account of one of those days is 
supplied by Wilberforce's Diary : — ' April 24. Much 
pressed by Lord Camden to go to Wilderness, Lord 
Camden's, to meet Pitt and hear the account of the late 
negotiation. I have consented. — April 25. Set off about 
half-past two to Wilderness with Lord Camden, in his 
chaise. To Long's, Bromley Hill. There found Pitt. 
Saw the place sweetly pretty, and with Pitt tete-a-tete 
to Wilderness. Heard the complete story of the late 
negotiation with Addington. Pitt's plan of defending 
the country, if war. His mind of the same superior 
cast. Did not get to dinner till almost eight o'clock. 
William Long, 1 Lord Camden, Pitt, and I, chatted till 
bedtime : half-past twelve. — April 26. After breakfast, 
long discussion with Pitt. Talked about Navy's state, as 
day before. Then read loungingly and walked out. I 
fear the morning was too much wasted. ... Oh ! Lord, 
make me more transformed into thine image ! ' 

On his return to Walmer Castle Mr. Pitt lived for 
some time longer in retirement, and awaited the issue 
of the negotiations with France. Let me add one of 
his letters of this period, as addressed to my father : — 

Walmer Castle, May 2, 1803. 
Dear Marion, — I was obliged to write so many more 
letters than usual yesterday, that, even with the advantage 
of a rainy day, I could not find time to answer yours. 
Your two proposed letters I return under another cover. 
They seem to me to be perfectly proper, and to want no 
alterations but the very slight ones which you will see I 
have suggested. 

1 The Rev. W. Long was a brother of Mr. Charles Long. In 
September, 1 804, he was named a Canon of Windsor on the recom- 
mendation of Pitt. 


The Isis, I find, passed a few days ago through the 
Downs without stopping in her way to Spithead ; and the 
papers announce that she is to carry Gambier again to New- 
foundland. In that case, is James to remain in her I A 
second voyage thither is not the pleasantest destination, but 
perhaps (if war does not take place) it is better than any 

I shall be very glad to learn the result of your consulta- 
tion with Estcourt, and happy to see you here whenever it 
suits you. If you foresee the time of your coming a day or 
two before, pray let me know, as possibly you may find Lord 
and Lady Melville here, and some other of our friends. Do 
not let this induce you to defer your visit. I only mention 
it because it may perhaps be necessary to quarter one or two 
of the party at the Cottage. The weather has been so bad 
that I have scarcely seen Leith, or any other Cinque Ports' 
oracle, to consult about a Court of Load Manage ; biit I 
doubt whether any of the controverted points can be so well 
decided before Midsummer. I enclose a letter which I 
found here, probably (by the post-mark) from the Mar- 
gravine. Ever affectionately yours, W. P. 

The ' James ' whom Mr. Pitt here mentions was 
James Hamilton Stanhope, youngest brother of Lord 
Mahon. He had entered the Navy, but conceiving a 
strong distaste to that profession, he soon afterwards 
exchanged it for the Army, in which Charles Stanhope 
was already serving. To both these brothers, shut out 
from a father's care, Mr. Pitt extended a most constant 
and most generous kindness. 

Meanwhile the negotiations at Paris were tending to 
an unprosperous issue. Malta was still the main point 
in dispute. In the course of March and April several 
expedients on the subject were proposed in a conci- 
liatory spirit by the English Government. But the 
French would be content with nothing but immediate 
restitution. They would not take into account either 
their own aggressive course upon the Continent since 
the Treaty of Amiens, or the absence of any such 
securities for the independence of Malta as that Treaty 


contemplated. Our ultimatum was that we should 
retain possession of Malta for a period of ten years ; 
that we should then give up the island to the inhabit- 
ants, and not to the Knights ; and that as a naval 
station in the Mediterranean the neighbouring island of 
Lampedosa should be ceded to us by the King of Naples 
"without opposition on the part of France. If, moreover, 
Holland should be evacuated by the French troops, and 
some stipulations be made in favour of the King of 
Sardinia and of Switzerland, England would consent to 
acknowledge the new Italian States. These terms the 
First Consul rejected. 

At this period Mr. Fox took care in his public 
speeches to express no opinion in favour of the French. 
But he was not equally reserved in his familiar corre- 
spondence. Thus in March he writes to Mr. Grey : 
' At present I am more convinced than ever that if it is 
war, it is entirely the fault of the Ministers, and not of 
Bonaparte.' Still more decisive is his language in 
June to another correspondent when he observes that 
' Addington by his folly has contrived to lay bare 
the injustice of our cause.' * It is difficult, surely, to 
maintain that opinion in the teeth of such facts as I 
have already told. In our own time at least the ablest 
men of Fox's party have held a very different view. 
Lord Macaulay considers the breach with France as 
reopened through the dominating tone of the First 
Consul, which he describes as ' insupportable.' It grew 
clearer and clearer — he goes on to say — that a war for 
the dignity, the independence, the very existence of our 
nation was at hand. 2 

The ultimatum of England being positively declined 
by France, no hope of peace remained. On the 12th of 
May Lord Whit worth left Paris, on the 16th General 
Andreossy left London. On this last day also a Message 

1 Correspondence, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. p. 404, 
and vol. iv. p. 9. 

2 Biographies, p. 217, ed. 1860. 


from the King was brought down to both Houses — to 
the Peers by Lord Pelham, to the Commons by Mr. 
Addington. His Majesty announced that the negotia- 
tion with France was over, and he appealed with con- 
fidence to the public spirit of his brave and loyal 
subjects. It was resolved to take the King's Message 
into consideration on that day week, the 23rd. 

On the 18th there was published a Declaration of 
War in the name of the King, relating at length the 
course of the negotiation, and the grounds upon which we 
had proceeded. On the same day, by Koyal command, 
the diplomatic papers which had passed were laid upon 
the Table in both Houses. 

A counter Declaration of War was issued on the part 
of France. Moreover the First Consul took a step which 
was unpopular in France itself, and which very few 
even of his warmest partisans have since defended. In 
the terms of a Decree, issued in haste on the 22nd of 
May, several thousand unoffending English subjects 
who were quietly travelling or sojourning in the French 
dominions under the faith of treaties were seized and 
thrown into prison. The plea assigned by some apolo- 
gists at Paris was that two French vessels had been 
captured in the Bay of Audierne in Brittany under the 
English letters of marque, and before the war had been 
duly declared. The fact is, however, that this capture 
did not take place till the 20th of the month, eight 
days after the English ambassador had set out from 
Paris. Had even the fact been otherwise, it will 
scarcely at present be alleged that it was sufficient to 
justify the scope of the Consul's Decree. 

The English prisoners seized on this occasion were 
for the most part detained in captivity at Verdun and 
other places during the whole remainder of the war. 
This measure, productive as it was of great individual 
suffering and hardship, proved to be no less impolitic 
than it was unjust. No other in Napoleon's whole 
career tended more in British minds to dim the lustre 


of his glories, and to rouse against him what may be 
regarded as the main obstacle to his ultimate triumph 
in his designs of European conquest — the sturdy spirit 
of the British people. 

It was under these circumstances of renewed war and 
impending dangers that Mr. Pitt felt it his duty to 
resume without further delay his attendance in the 
House of Commons. He announced to his friends that 
he was coming up, and would take part in the discussion 
on the 23rd. ' But what does he mean to say of the 
Ministers ? ' asked Lord Malmesbury of Canning. * He 
means,' answered Canning, ' to fire over the heads of the 
Government — that is, not to blame or praise them, but 
to support the war measures, and to confine himself 
to this.' 

Mr. Pitt did come up accordingly, and took his seat 
for the first time this Parliament on the 20th. ' I have 
been a long time truant,' he said to the Speaker, as 
they shook hands. There was a general eagerness for his 
expected speech of the 23rd, not only to learn his line 
of politics, but because there were nearly two hundred 
new Members, as Lord Macaulay reckons, who had never 
heard him. 

The debate on the King's Message, and on the Ad- 
dress of the Commons in reply, which began on the 23rd 
of May, was continued by adjournment on the next day 
also. Those two days will ever be memorable in our 
Parliamentary annals for the wonderful speech of Pitt 
on the former, and the wonderful speech of Fox on the 
second. It is difficult to decide to which of these two 
mighty rivals on this occasion the palm of pre-eminence 
belongs. I have stated in a former passage that the 
best judges have held this speech of Fox as one of the 
three greatest that he ever made. 1 If I were asked a 
similar question as to the three greatest speeches ever 
made by Pitt, I would in the first place desire to set 
aside, as in a separate class, his luminous expositions 

1 See vol. i. p. 430. 


of national finance delivered in successive years, and I 
would then presume to name his speech on the Fox and 
North coalition in February 1783, his speech on the 
Slave Trade in April 1792, and his speech on the renewal 
of the war in May 1803. 

With such merits in the estimation of its hearers, it 
is much to be lamented that nothing, or next to nothing, 
of this speech is left. By a mistake of the Speaker's the 
reporters were on that evening shut out from the gallery, 
so that even the very meagre report which the reporters 
of that age supplied, at this point altogether fails us. 
The Parliamentary History contains only a brief outline 
of the principal heads of argument that Mr. Pitt em- 
ployed. Nothing then remains for us but to collect 
and compare the most authentic testimonies that have 
reached us of this renowned oration. 

Lord Malmesbury in his journal gives this account 
of the debate : ' May 24. Pitt's speech last night, the 
finest he ever made. Never was any speech so cheered, 
or such incessant and loud applause. It was strong in 
support of war, but he was silent as to Ministers, and 
his silence either as to blame or praise was naturally 
construed into negative censure. No one was heard 
after him, and the debate was adjourned at ten o'clock 
till to day.' 

* May 25. Fox spoke three hours last night, very 
ingenious but very mischievous. Windham answered 
him. Addington spoke very poorly.' 

Mr, Abbot, whose journal, like most other journals, 
sometimes leaves out the corn and takes up the chaff, 
makes no mention at all of Pitt's great speech. He 
only tells us — as a thing of far superior interest — that 
on the 23rd Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York 
came through his house to hear the debate, and after- 
wards returned to sup. But of Pitt's great rival he says : 
' Mr. Fox spoke from ten o'clock till one, and in these 
three hours delivered a speech of more art, eloquence, 



wit, and mischief, than I ever remember to have heard 
from him.' 

Fox's own account of this debate will be read with 
still higher interest. He writes to his nephew on the 
6th of June : ' Pitt's speech on the former day on the 
Address was admired very much, and very justly. I 
think it was the best he ever made in that style. ... I 
dare say you have heard puffs enough of my speech on 
the Address, so that I need not add my mite ; but the 
truth is that it was my best.' 

The compliment of Fox was not paid in private only. 
In his own speech he had adverted to that ' of a very 
eminent and powerful Member who has been unable for 
a long time to give us the benefit of his attendance. It 
is a speech,' he added, ' which, if Demosthenes had been 
present, he must have admired, and might have envied.' ' 

These testimonies are already published. But there 
remains another, more important than all, which has 
never yet appeared in print. Among the new Members 
returned at the General Election of 1802 was Mr. John 
William Ward, only son of Lord Ward, who at a later 
period became Earl of Dudley, and Secretary of State 
for Foreign Affairs. Even at this early period he gave 
proofs of the critical discrimination by which he was 
afterwards distinguished ; and he has described the 
speeches of Pitt and Fox in writing to his tutor at Ox- 
ford, Mr. Copleston, subsequently Bishop of Llandaff. I 
owe the communication of this most interesting letter 
(which Lord Macaulay also saw and has noticed) to the 
kindness of the present Earl of Dudley. 

Hon. J. W. Ward to the Rev. E. Copleston. 

May 30, 1803. 
My dear Sir, — .... Of the object of your inquiry, 
Mr. Pitt's speech on the. 23rd, I will not say omne ignotv/m 
pro maijnifico est, yet I am perfectly convinced that the cir- 

1 I derive the first sentence from the Pari. Hist. (vol. xxvi p. 
1 110), and the second from the Memoirs of Francis Horner (vol i. 
p. 221). 


curnstance of its not being made public has increased the 
general disposition to do full justice to its merits. More in- 
deed than full justice appears to me to have been done to 
them, at the expense too of the author, when it has been 
said, as it has, that this was the greatest, or among the 
greatest, of his harangues. No doubt it was perfect as far 
as it went, i.e. as far as it was intended to go. ' Bonaparte 
absorbing the whole power of France ; ' ' Egypt consecrated 
by the heroic blood that had been shed upon it ; ' ' the liquid 
fire of Jacobinical principles desolating the world ; ' the 
merciless sarcasms on the unhappy Erskine, whose speech 
(remarkable for inextricable confusion both of thought and 
expression) ' was not, he presumed, designed for a complete 
and systematic view of the subject,' — 'the scruples of whose 
conscience he was so desirous to dispel,' — ' and whose im- 
portant suffrage he would do so much to obtain ' — and the 
whole of an electrifying peroration on the necessity and 
magnitude of our future exertions ; all this was as fine as 
anything he ever uttered. Still, however, it is a sacrifice 
of memory and judgment to present impressions, to pronounce 
it his chef-d'oeuvre. It was not so comprehensive, or so 
various, or, what those who like me had rather hear him for 
four hours than one, must be allowed to take into the ac- 
count, not so long as some to which I have listened, and 
several at the excellence of which I have guessed through a 
report. For instance, that against peace in 1800, that for it 
the following year, that on the murder of the King of 
France, and that short but beautiful burst of eloquence 
with which he followed Sheridan (on the same side) on the 
occasion of the Mutiny. 

But whatever may have been its comparative merits, its 
effects were astonishing, and, I believe, unequalled. When 
he came in, which he did not till after Lord Hawkesbury 
had been speaking nearly an hour, all the attention of the 
House was withdrawn for some moments from the orator 
and fixed on him ; and as he walked up to his place, his 
name was repeated aloud by many persons, for want, I 
imagine, of some other way to express their feelings. 
Erskine and Whitbread were heard with impatience, and 
when, at the end of a tedious hour and a-half, he rose (20 
min. to 8), there was first a violent and almost universal 
cry of : Mr. Pitt ! Mr. Pitt ! He was then cheered before 


he had uttered a syllable, a mark of approbation which was 
repeated at almost all the brilliant passages and remarkable 
sentiments; and when he sat down (9) there followed three 
of the longest, most eager, and most enthusiastic hursts of 
applause I ever heard in any place on any occasion. As far 
as I observed, however, it was confined to the Parliamentary 
Hear him ! H ear him ! but it is possihle that the exclamations 
in the body of the House might have hindered nie from 
hearing the clapping of hands in the gallery. This wonder- 
ful agitation, you will readily perceive, it would not be fair 
to ascribe wholly to the superiority of his eloquence on that 
particular occasion — he was applauded before he spoke, 
which is alone a sufficient proof. Much must be attributed 
to his return at such an awful moment to an assembly which 
he had been accustomed to rule, from which he had been 
long absent, and in which he had not left a successor ; some 
little perhaps to his addressing a new Parliament in which 
there were many members by whom he had never or rarely 
been heai-d, and whose curiosity must of course have been 
raised to the highest pitch. 

His physical powers are, I am seriously concerned to 
remark, perceptibly impaired. He exhibits strong marks 
of bad health. Though his voice has not lost any of its 
depth and harmony, his lungs seem to labour in those pro- 
digious sentences which he once thundered forth without 
effort, and which (to borrow a phrase from your favourite 
metaphysician Monboddo) other men have 'neither the 
understanding to form nor the vigour to utter.' 

Fox's speech on the following evening was, I think, a far 
greater effort of mind. It was much the best I ever heard 
from him, and stands immediately next to the greatest 
among those of his antagonist. It was free from his usual 
and lamentable fault of repetition. Every one seemed to 
agree that he outdid himself. Fortunately it has not shared 
the fate of Pitt's, though two sides of the Morning Chronicle 
cannot give a very complete idea of this wonderful piece of 
wit and argument, which took near three hours in delivering. 
Don't imagine that from this accidental superiority in one 
instance, I mean to draw any inference as to the comparative 
talents of the men. I believe it arose merely from the 
different ground on which circumstances induced them to 
stand. Pitt taking professedly a very narrow, Fox a very 


wide field, the genius of the one was circumscribed, the 

other hud room to display all his resources 

Yours most sincerely, J. W. Ward. 

Among the strangers in the gallery that evening was 
Mr. William Dacres Adams, who next year became 
Private Secretary to Mr. Pitt. Turning to his next 
neighbour he most happily applied to Pitt, on this occa- 
sion, some lines from Pope's ' Homer,' which describe 
the reappearance of Achilles in the field, and which are 
derived from two separate passages of the poem. 

Heroes, transported by the well-known sound, 
Frequent and full the great assembly crown'd, 
Studious to see that terror of the plain, 
Long lost to battle, shine in arms again. 
Dreadful he stood in front of all his host : 
Pale Troy beheld, and seem'd already lost. 

It is to be observed that in these debates the course 
of the two great orators was by no means the same. 
Pitt supported the Address. Fox was in favour of an 
Amendment which Grey had already moved. The main 
gist of his speech was to palliate on many points, 
although in guarded terms, the policy of the French 
Government, and to point out how, with moderation, 
peace might yet be preserved. In his course, besides 
his usual small band of followers, he found some un- 
expected allies. Wilberforce, on the first night, had 
risen when Pitt sat down. His speech had been faintly 
heard amidst the buzz of applause and comments which 
ensued ; but he had earnestly argued against the con- 
duct of the Ministers in the late negotiation. Malta, 
he thought, should have been surrendered in compliance 
with the letter of the treaty, notwithstanding all the 
infractions of its spirit. Several other Members con- 
curred in the same view. Yet, combining with Fox's 
friends in the division, they mustered only 67, while 
for the Address there appeared 398. In the Lords a 
similar Address was carried by 142 against 10. 

Three days later, that is on the 27th, Mr. Fox brought 


forward a motion giving effect to an idea which he had 
already thrown out. He moved an Address to the King 
to accept the mediation of Russia. Lord Hawkeshury, 
in strong terms, expressed the objections of the Govern- 
ment. Then Pitt rose, the third speaker in this debate. 
He declared himself quite in favour of Fox's scheme. 
' Whether,' he said, ' for a season of war or of peace — 
whether in the view of giving energy to our arms, or 
security to our repose — whether in the view of prevent- 
ing war by negotiation, or restoring peace after war 
has broken out — it is the duty of the Ministers of this 
country to avail themselves of the good offices of Powers 
with whom it must be the interest of this country to be 
united in alliance.' The opinion of Pitt gave the debate 
entirely a new aspect. Lord Hawkesbury assured the 
House that the Government was ready to accept the 
mediation of Russia, upon which Mr. Fox consented to 
withdraw his motion. The comment of Lord Malmes- 
bury is as follows : ' This measure is perhaps a right 
one, though much may be said against it ; but it is a 
Cabinet, not a Parliamentary measure, and Ministers by 
suffering it to originate in Parliament, and from the 
Opposition Bench, betray weakness, and authorise a new 
and most dangerous precedent.' 

This desired mediation came to no result. Matters 
had already gone too far. On the 27th of May, the 
very day of this debate in the Commons, was issued the 
Order of the First Consul to arrest and detain all 
English subjects travelling in France. Moreover Count 
Woronzow, the Russian ambassador in England, had no 
confidence in Mr. Addington. Only a few days later he 
said in conversation : ' Si ce Ministere dare, la Grande 
Bretagne ne durera pas.' 

The alienation between Pitt and Addington was at 
this time complete. A further token of it, as the public 
thought, appeared on the 1st of June, when a new Writ 
was moved for Southwark, Mr. Tierney having been ap- 
pointed Treasurer of the Navy. 'This,' Lord Malmes- 


bury observes, ' seems to be an indication of Pitt never 
taking office any more,' — office he meant in that admi- 
nistration. It will be remembered that there had been 
not only political hostility of the keenest kind between 
Pitt and Tierney, but also a personal encounter. 

By this arrangement Addington expected to be able 
to spare Lord Hawkesbury from the House of Commons, 
and to summon him by writ to the House of Peers, 
where, on the Government side, some additional strength 
was greatly needed. 

A question of a party character was now impending. 
Colonel Peter Patten, member for Newton in Lanca- 
shire, had given notice of a Vote of Censure for the 3rd 
of June. It was to condemn the Ministers for their 
alleged remissness and want of vigilance previous to the 
declaration of war. The Ministers would have desired 
a moderate vote of justification on their conduct ; but 
Pitt when spoken to would not hear of such a scheme. 
' It is throwing down the gauntlet,' he said. But while 
unable to commend, he was equally unwilling to censure. 
He deemed it wiser to look forward instead of back- 
ward ; and he determined, instead of joining in the vote, 
to move on it the previous question, or the Orders of 
the Day. 

Great efforts were made by some common friends to 
induce Addington to content himself with such a course ; 
but Addington, with high spirit, steadily refused. When 
therefore, on the 3rd, Colonel Patten did bring on his 
motion — when some minor speakers had addressed the 
House — and when Mr. Thomas Grenville, who followed 
them, had denounced the Government for two hours in 
a speech of great ability — the Prime Minister rose next. 
He conjured the House, in a most earnest tone, to pro- 
ceed to their final vote of condemnation or acquittal, 
that Ministers might know whether they were to stand 
or fall. 

Then Pitt rose. He declared that he could not agree 
to the censure, nor yet would say that the Minister was 


free from blame. He would not discuss the question 
itself, but would move to put it by, and proceed to the 
Orders of the Day. Instead of driving out of office, by 
a vote, Ministers whom the Crown still honoured with 
its confidence, and causing a hazardous and probably 
long interval of suspense with such an enemy before us, 
he would rather advise the House to devote their whole 
exertions to the military and financial defence of the 

On the other hand H others of the Ministry — Lord 
Hawkesbury, Lord Castlereagh, and the Master of the 
Kolls, Sir William Grant — all pressed for instant deci- 
sion, contending that Mr. Pitt's motion implied the very 
censure which it professed to avoid. Lord Hawkesbury, 
who spoke next after Pitt, was especially applauded. 
' He answered him extraordinarily well,' says Fox, 'show- 
ing both a proper spirit of resistance and a proper spirit 
at being compelled to use it against an old friend. It 
was far the best speech he ever made.' l Mr. Canning 
rose, as he declared, with feelings of the deepest pain. 
He must join with Colonel Patten. ' For the first time 
in my life,' he said, * I find myself compelled to differ 
from my Eight Hon. friend.' 

It was a strange j umble of parties, and so the divi- 
sion showed it. The Ministers, the Grenvilles, and the 
Foxites voted together against the motion of Mr. Pitt, 
and it was rejected by 333 members against only 56'. 
Upon this Mr. Pitt and most of his friends went out of 
the House. Mr. Fox rose to declare that on the main 
question he would not vote either way. He could not 
approve the conduct of the Ministers, but would take no 
step for their removal, since he thought that their suc- 
cessors might be less pacific than they. So saying he 
walked away, followed by Sheridan and his principal 

1 Correspondence, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. p. 223. 
To Pitt's speech on this occasion Fox refers in the same letter with 
considerable acrimony. ' Both the substance and manner were as 
bad as bis worst enemy could wish.' 


friends. Then the Vote of Censure being put, the 
numbers were as follows : — 

Yeas . . 34 

Noes .... 275 

In this division Earl Temple and Mr. Canning were the 
Tellers against the Government. We learn from a con- 
fidential letter of Mr. Fox to his nephew, that in taking 
the course he did he acted directly against his own 
opinion. Immediately afterwards he went out of town 
' for good.' ' Grey was gone already. 

These large, nay immense, majorities on a great 
party trial of strength were of course a signal triumph 
to the Government, and seemed to establish it firmly. 
To no one did the result afford greater satisfaction than 
to the King. His note to the Prime Minister next 
morning shows how completely at this period His Ma- 
jesty was estranged from Mr. Pitt : — 

June i, 1803. 

The King feels much pleasure on receiving Mr. Adding- 
ton's account, that on Mr. Pitt's motion for the Order of the 
Day the Ayes were hut 58 to 335, 2 and on Mr. Patten's 
motion for a censure, the Ayes were 36,\Noes 277 ; as these 
events prove the real sense of the House of Commons, and 
that Parliament truly means support to the Executive Power, 
not to faction. George R. 

The result was, in a party sense, very damaging to 
Mr. Pitt. The small minority of 54, with the addition 
of the two Tellers and of Mr. Canning, seemed to mea- 
sure exactly his Parliamentary strength at this time. 
Considering his high renown in his seclusion, and the 
warm applause with which he had been greeted on the 
first night of his reappearance, it had been thought that 
he could carry with him a much greater number in any 
vote that he might move ; but the middle course which 
he had taken between contending and exasperated 

1 Correspondence, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. pp. 222 
and 224. 

2 The Tellers are here included. 


parties was. as middle courses are apt to be, distasteful 
to the House of Commons. We find Fox, in a private 
letter, descant with natural exultation on the defeat of 
his ancient rival ; and adverting to Pitt's great effort 
on the 23rd, Fox adds, * The contrast between the re- 
ception of that speech and of his last was perhaps the 
strongest ever known.' ' 

Pitt himself was not chafed. He talked of the matter 
very calmly to Lord Malmesbury, who called upon him 
one morning as he sat at breakfast. ' Perhaps,' he 
said, ' it was not good generalship. I was aware of 
this, and of the sort of talk and blame to which it would 
give rise. Yet I had considered it over and over again 
before I determined what to do. . . . My plan is not to 
take any retrospective view — to be silent as to all that 
is past ; but not so as to prospective measures. The 
situation of the country is so serious that over these I 
must most carefully watch. I will not oppose idly and 
vexatiously. On the contrary, my general line will be 
support. But I shall oppose most decidedly, and with 
all my power, any weak or pernicious half-measures — 
any unequal to the pressure of the moment.' 

In the Lords a Vote of Censure, in the same words as 
by Colonel Patten, had been moved by Earl Fitzwilliam 
on the 2nd of June. Both Lord Grenville and Lord 
( 'arnarvon spoke with energy against the Government. 
Lord Mulgrave, acting on the views of Mr. Pitt, and 
declaring that he thought the present time improper for 
such discussions, moved an adjournment of the House. 
In this course he was supported by Lord Melville, but 
they were defeated by 106 votes to 18. 

On the 6th of June, and in a less full House, the 
debate on the main question was renewed ; and the 
Government prevailed by 86 against 17. Thus, in the 
Peers as in the Commons, the ascendency of Mr. Ad- 
dington was clearly for the time established. 

Of all Pitt's personal adherents, at this time out of 

1 To Lord Holland, June 6, 1803. 


office, Mr. Canning, as we have seen, was the only one 
who persisted in voting with Colonel Patten on the 3rd 
of June. For some time past, indeed, he had declared 
against the Ministers open war. For some time past he 
had given to his satirical temper full rein. Light pieces 
of poetry, some distinguished by their talent, and all 
directed against Addington, proceeded from his pen into 
print. Several of these may deserve to be still remem- 
bered. Here is one entitled ' Moderate Men and 
Moderate Measures.' It thus commences : — 

Praise to placeless proud ability 
Let the prudent Muse disclaim ; 
And sing the statesman — all civility — 
Whom moderate talents raise to fame. 

Splendid talents are deceiving, 
Tend to counsels much too bold ; 
Moderate men we prize, believing 
All that glitters is not gold. 

And then follow some jests, rather too broad, suggested 
by the nickname of 'the Doctor,' and applied to the 
practices of the medical profession. 

Here is another —an ' Ode to the Doctor ' himself. 
It condemns him above all for the partial favour (but 
was not Lord Chatham's a still stronger case?) which 
had led him to promote his brother Mr. Hiley Addington 
and his brother-in-law Mr. Charles Bragge. He had 
raised both these gentlemen to the rank of Privy Coun- 
cillors. He had named the one joint Paymaster of the 
Forces, and the other Treasurer of the Navy. On the 
other hand they were expected to strain their lungs 
in his defence. 

When the faltering periods lag, 
Or the House receives them drily, 
Cheer, oh cheer him, brother Bragge ! 
Cheer, oh cheer him, brother Hiley ! 

Each a gentleman at large, 
Lodged and fed at public charge. 
Paying, with a grace to charm ye, 
This the lleet, and that the army. 


Brother Bragge and brother Hiley, 
Cheer him ! when he speaks so vilely ; 
Cheer him ! when his audience flag, 
Brother Hiley, brother Bragge. 

Another sally of wit, more doubtfully ascribed to 
Mr. Canning-, was written when block-houses were in 
progress to fortify the approaches of the Thames. 

If blocks can from danger deliver, 
Two places are safe from the Frencli , 

The one is t lie month of the river, 
The other the Treasury Bench. 

Best of all, perhaps, is a couplet in which Canning 
compares the ability of the two Prime Ministers accord- 
ing to a rule-of- three sum. 

Pitt is to Addington 

As London to Paddington. 

L 6 ' 

It is worth while to note in this year, 1803, the 
opposite complaints against two statesmen destined to 
become a few years later the main rivals in the House 
of Commons. Mr. Canning was justly accused of im- 
prudent and impetuous ardour ; while on the other 
hand, an icy reserve might be imputed to Lord Castle- 
reagh. ' As for my friend Lord Castlereagh, he is so 
cold that nothing can warm him' — so writes the Mar- 
quis Cornwallis. 1 Such is only part of the contrast 
that might be drawn through life between these two 
eminent men. Yet in one most amiable feeling, shown 
in many signal instances, they entirely concurred — in a 
kindly and affectionate attachment to their friends. It 
was a feeling that glowed no less beneath the satirical 
vein of Canning than beneath the stately demeanour of 

Meanwhile the measures of the Session were in active 
progress. On the 6th of June the Army Estimates 
came on. Both Pitt and Windham spoke, and nearly 
to the same effect. Pitt assented to the principle of a 
new and further levy beyond the regular establishment ; 

1 To General Ross, November 3, 1803. 

1803 THE BUDGET. 141 

at the same time he said care must be taken that the 
number of Militia should not bear too large a propor- 
tion to the whole of our force. A war that should be 
solely defensive would be, in his opinion, both dishonour- 
able and ruinous. He urged expedition, and proffered 
himself as ready to associate with others in sharing the 
obloquy of harsh measures of defence and finance at 
such a crisis. 1 

On the 10th there was passed without opposition, 
and almost without remark, a vote for forty thousand 
additional seamen. That clay also Mr. Pitt saw the out- 
line of the proposed Budget, which Steele communicated 
to him. He said that the magnitude of the supplies to 
be raised within the year exceeded his expectations, and 
fully met his wishes. 

On the 13th, accordingly, Addington brought for- 
ward his Budget in a speech of two hours. He had that 
very morning negotiated a loan of twelve millions upon 
favourable terms. To provide for the further expenses 
which the large armaments required, he proposed, in 
the first place, an increase in the duties of excise, to 
augment the revenue by six millions. Secondly, he 
asked a renewal of the Property Tax, to be fixed at a 
lower rate, namely, five per cent., but applied to a wider 
range, and estimated to produce four millions and a half. 
Next day, on the Eeport of the Budget, there was a 
desultory debate of three hours, but with a general 
approbation of the plan. Mr. Pitt did not speak. He 
had strong doubts as to the new plan for the Property 
Tax, but desired to reserve himself until it should be 
embodied as a Bill, and clearly brought before the House. 

On the 17th there was a Message from the King 
announcing the renewal of war with the Batavian 
Republic; and on the 18th another Message, recom- 
mending that a large additional force should be forth- 
with raised. In pursuance of this last recommendation, 

1 For this speech compare the Parliamentary History, vol.xxxvi. 
p. 1578, with Lord Colchester's Diary, vol. i. p. 427. 


Mr. Charles Yorke, as Secretary at War, rose on the 
20th to submit his plan relative to the defence of the 
country. Referring to the promise of a descent on 
England which the First Consul had lately made to 
divers bodies of men in France, he dared the enemy 
to attempt it. They would find the passage of the 
British Channel far more tremendous than that of the 
infernal river which the poet had described : 

Fata obstant, tristisque palus inamabilis^unda 
Alligat, ct novies Styx interfusa coercet.' 

To carry out this classical design Mr. Yorke proposed 
that an Army of Reserve, consisting of fifty thousand 
men, should be raised by ballot to serve four years. We 
have already, he said, seventy-three thousand men in 
the Militia, and good officers for them are not to be 
found in sufficient number. 

Mr. Windham, who rose next, appears to have been 
much pleased with the poetical imagery — so nearly in 
his own style — which Mr. Yorke had used. ' Sir,' 
he said, ' the Right Hon. Gentleman introduced this 
measure in a manner perfectly suitable to the solemnity 
of the occasion. I wish the measure itself had been 
equally suitable to the manner of its introduction.' 
Windham then proceeded with his usual ingenuity to 
set forth a great number of objections, and declare his 
strong preference of regular troops. Yet he was not 
always very steady in his views. On a subsequent day 
he ' recommended a Vendean rising en masse as a better 
mode of repelling invasion than the means which the 
present Bill held forth.' ' 

Pitt, on the other hand, gave the measure his full 
support. He summed up the question as follows : — < It 
appears to me to be essentially necessary that a large 
force should be raised as speedily as possible ; and I do 
not know any other measure likely to be more effectual 
for this purpose.' Such was also the feeling of the 

1 Pari. Hist., vol. xxxvi. p. 1623. 


House at large. The Bill was passed rapidly and with- 
out any division. 

Not so favourable to the Ministers was the course 
of Mr. Pitt on the 13th of July, when their ' Property 
Duty Bill,' as it was called, came to be considered. 
On that day his sentiments were expressed at consider- 
able length. In the first place he defended his own, 
the old Income Tax. ' It was adopted at a time when 
the gloom of despondency hung over the minds of the 
most firm, and when fear and apprehension were to be 
found among the most loyal. But what were the con- 
sequences of this much abused measure ? Why, that 
subsequently to its adoption the spirit of the country 
grew up with rapidity and vigour ; its triumphs ex- 
tended, its good fortune as it were revived. As to the 
Bill now before us, there are many of its provisions of 
which I strongly disapprove. The modes of disposing 
of capital should not be interfered with through the 
operation of a partial tax tending to encourage the ap- 
plication of that capital to one mode in preference to 
another. Those modes are various. One man likes to 
employ his capital in a business which requires great 
labour, and from which he expects proportionate profits. 
Another seeks to derive large profits from his capital in 
great risks. A third chooses to indulge in idleness, and 
to enjoy a small profit in security. Any attempt to 
meddle in a legislative measure with this, the usual and 
spontaneous distribution of property, would be highly 
unjust, and tend to violate the very character of an 
Income Tax. 

4 It is proposed in the Bill before us to make various 
abatements to persons having annual incomes not ex- 
ceeding 1 501. ; and all under 60l. a-year to be entirely 
discharged from this tax. From this exemption, how- 
ever, the landed proprietors and the receivers of in- 
terest from the Funds are excluded. I cannot conceive 
the grounds upon which this exclusion rests. Certainly, 
as regards the Funds, it is a breach of the principle 


upon which loans have been contracted, and what effects 
such an innovation is likely to have upon any future 
loan I will not pretend to say Why should per- 
sons of humble revenue in the Funds and in land be 
made the sacrifices of this singular difference, while 
those of superior revenue are left quite untouched ? 
.... But, above all, I deprecate the proposed regula- 
tion as inconsistent with national good faith, and as cal- 
culated to strike the first blow against that credit for 
which the country has been so long distinguished.' 

In pursuance of the opinion thus wisely deduced 
from sound first principles Pitt moved an Instruction 
to the Committee that the proposed exemptions and 
abatements should apply to all classes of property alike. 

Some doubts were expressed as to the form of the 
Instruction. Pitt cited a precedent in point, which 
Rose had suggested to him from the Journals of the 
year 1721, and the question was debated both on the 
form and on the substance. According to the Speaker's 
account, ' words of considerable asperity, or rather lan- 
guage in a tone of great asperity, passed from Mr. Pitt 
towards Mr. Addington in these discussions.' * Adding- 
ton stoutly defended his own proposal, and in the divi- 
sion he prevailed by a large majority. For Pitt's motion 
there were but 50 votes, and against it 150. 

But see here the inborn ascendency of genius. Ad- 
dington, although he had conquered in the division, felt 
himself beat in the debate. He could not venture to 
let his Bill go forth to the country with such arguments 
and such authority against it. On the very next day, 
the 14th of July, he came down to the House to re- 
nounce his victory, to disavow his followers, and to 
make those very alterations which Pitt had pressed. 

Who, it might be asked, was at this juncture the 
real and effective Minister of England? The triumph 
to Pitt was perhaps even greater than that of the 23rd 
of May. 

1 Diary of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 432. 


On the 18th the Commons had before them another 
measure for the public defence. It was called the Mili- 
tary Service Bill, and introduced by Mr. Yorke. The 
object was to bring into form and shape the great na- 
tional movement now in progress, of the Volunteers. 
With this view the Bill gave powers for the enrolment 
and assembling of all men between the ages of seven- 
teen and fifty-five, who were capable of serving; and 
for their being exercised and drilled. It was a good 
measure, as far as it went, but it did not go very far. 
Some months later, in private conversation, Pitt spoke 
of it as * a flimsy Bill.' 1 At the time, however, he 
declared his intention to support it. So did Windham. 
So did also Fox, who came up on purpose from St. Ann's. 
But all three charged the Ministers with inexcusable 
delay in not bringing it forward sooner. 

The sole demur, if demur it were, to the measure, 
came from Sir Francis Burdett. He said that the 
only way to give spirit and energy to the people, and to 
make the country worth defending, was to repeal every 
Act passed since the accession of the present King ! 

In the Committee, however, some doubts arose. 
There was a clause which provided for exercising the 
Volunteers on Sundays after service ; and against this 
clause Wilberforce loudly protested. He tells us, in his 
Diary, that * Pitt spoke of it as not contrary to English 
Church principles.' Finally, there was some modification, 
but no withdrawal, of the clause ; or, in Wilberforce's 
words, ' we got the Bill mended, though not cured.' 

On a subsequent day, Colonel Craufurd having 
pressed for a more extensive measure of defence, Mr. 
Pitt spoke at length in approbation of that idea. And 
here again I may quote from Wilberforce's Diary. 
' Pitt supported Craufurd, and discovered great military 
genius. His speech capital — urging precautions, and 
yet animating.' 

It was in this speech that Pitt declared himself as 

1 Conversation with Lord Malmesbury, February 10, 1804. 


clearly in favour of defensive works for London. * But 
we are told,' he said, ' that we ought not to fortify 
London because our ancestors did not fortify it. Why, 
Sir, that is no argument, unless you can show me that 
our ancestors were in the same situation that we are. 
We might as well be told that, because our ancestors 
fought with arrows and with lances, we ought to use 
them now ; and that we ought to consider shields and 
corselets as affording a secure defence against musketry 
and artillery. If the fortification of the capital can add 
to the security of the country, I think it ought to be 
done. If, by the erection of works such as I am recom- 
mending, you can delay the progress of the enemy for 
three days it may make the difference between the 
safety and the destruction of the capital. It will not, 
I admit, make a difference between the conquest and 
the independence of the country, for that will not de- 
pend upon one nor upon ten battles ; but it may make 
the difference between the loss of thousands of lives, 
with misery, havoc, and desolation spread over the 
country on one hand — or, on the other, of frustrating 
the efforts, of confounding the exertions, and of chastis- 
ing the insolence of the enemy.' 

In another production of Wilberforce — a letter to 
his friend in Dorsetshire — we find the course of public 
business at this period well described. 

Mr, Wilberforce to Mr. JBankes. 

London, Aug. 11, 1803. 

My clear Bankes, 

I forget exactly when you left London, but I think it 
Mas j ust about the time of the Income Tax Bill. We got 
through it much in the same way as through many of a 
similar sort; and the same rapid manufacture of clauses, 
which had done such honour to the industry of our friend 
Rose, was seen to proceed Avith equal celerity in the hands of 
his successor Yansittart. To be sure, when one sees how- 
Acts of Parliament are made, one almost wonders they are 
half as correct, or rather incorrect, as they are. 


The Army of Reserve Bill passed. Pitt attended con- 
stantly ; in the main behaving well, but once, I understand, 
when I did not happen to be present, saying something to- 
wards Addington which indicated ill-nature and contempt. 
It was when Addington declared against taxing the future 
foreign purchasers of funded property, because it would 
abridge the market, and thereby depreciate the commodity to 
the old stockholders, when Pitt congratulated him, in the 
House, on the supererogatory tenderness for the public faith 
which he so suddenly displayed. Pitt had been, however, 
before so far reconciled, that though I think he never called 
Addington, individually, his Honourable friend, he did the 
Ministers in general ; and Addington called him so fre- 
quently. Pitt communicated freely with Yorke, and showed 
him his plan for the levy en masse, pressing forward strongly 
the introduction of the scheme, and secretly grumbling at 
the dilatoriness of Ministry. At length he declared to me 
and others, that if Government would not move it, he him- 
self would. Yorke then gave notice of it, and it has gone 
through, as you see. 

I must be very short in what remains, and I am sorry 
for it, because all I have yet said is not worth your reading. 
But from my having various matters of business to settle 
with the different offices, I have been much among the 
Ministers ; and I am grieved to say that their weakness is 
lamentable. There is no man who takes such a decided lead 
as to command the movements of the different parts of the 
machine ; and the consequence is, that the country is now, 
on the 11th of August, utterly unprepared for the enemy, if 
he should be more timely in his preparations. Govern- 
ment have not expressed their meaning with any distinctness 

to the Lord Lieutenants In several other places no 

answers have been received to most liberal offers of Volun- 
teer service ; or there has been such delay, that the Volun- 
teers have been tired with waiting, have been tampered 

with, and have withdrawn their offer Sheridan fights 

lustily for Addington. He proposed a sufficiently absurd 
vote of thanks last night to the Volunteers who had so 
gallantly offered their services ; but you see clearly that the 
affectionate regard of Government to him knows no bounds 
in this honeymoon of their union. 

Ever yours sincerely, W. Wilberforce. 


Another, and though less detailed, not less interest- 
ing account of our politics at this time, is comprised in 
a confidential letter which Lord Grenville addressed to 
the Governor General of India. In this letter, which 
bears date July 12, 1803, Grenville observes: ' It gives 
me great pleasure to see that, while my difference with 
Addington becomes every day more marked, all the 
motives which made Pitt and me differ in opinion and 
conduct daily decrease. We have not, however, yet 
been able to assimilate completely our plans of political 
conduct. Our situation, indeed, in one essential point 
of view, is entirely different. Though he did not re- 
commend Addington to his present employment (and 
indeed, who is there that knows him would have done 
it ?), he nevertheless gave him a certain portion of 
influence, more active than my opinion would have 
permitted me to grant, in the formation of the new 
administration. He advised their measures a long time 
after I had ceased to have any intercourse with them. 

If he has written to you (which he certainly 

must have done, had he not contracted the bad habit 
of never writing to any one), he must have expressed to 
you, I am persuaded, all these sentiments without 

The fate of this letter was certainly strange. On 
its way to Lord Wellesley, the ship which bore it, the 
' Admiral Aplin,' was captured by the French in the 
Indian seas. With some other private correspondence 
it was then, by order of the Government of France, 
translated and published in the Moniteur at a later 
period, the 16th of September, 1804. Thence it was, 
under the disadvantage, of course, of a double transla- 
tion, reproduced in the English newspapers. 1 Lord 
Grenville had thus the mortification to find his confi- 
dential statements to a personal friend prematurely, 
and without his consent, given forth to the world. 

1 It will lie found at full length in tin: An mini Itnjister for 1804, 
p. 110. Sue also Adolphus's History, vol. vii. p. 754. 


My father told me that he chanced to be with Mr. 
Pitt when this publication took place, and on their 
coming to the passage where the ' bad habit of never 
writing ' is referred to, Mr. Pitt said drily, ' I think 
Grenville will now acknowledge that I was in the right 
of it ! ' 

The Session was still in progress, and the month of 
July had not yet passed, when there came what Lord 
Grenville, in another letter, truly calls ' dreadful news 
from Ireland.' A new conspiracy had been planned ; a 
new murder had been perpetrated. The prime mover of 
the first was a Protestant gentleman of Dublin, Robert 
Emmett ; his father a physician in much practice ; him- 
self a young man of great ability. His elder brother, 
Thomas Addis Emmett, had been forward among the 
Irish leaders of ' the '98,' and subsequently had been no 
less forward among the Irish exiles. With most of 
these, as also with several friends in the Government of 
France, Robert Emmett held frequent conference at 
Paris and at Brussels through the whole of 1801. Re- 
turning to Dublin towards the close of the next year, he 
applied himself to knit together once again the broken 
meshes of rebellion. The renewal of the war between 
England and France was an event of course highly 
favourable to his views. By him and by his brother 
chiefs proclamations were composed ; arms and ammu- 
nition were purchased. It was intended to muster some 
armed bands, and to make an attack on three principal 
points — the Pigeon-house, the Castle, and the Artillery 
Barracks at Island Bridge. 1 

The plot was still in progress, when, on the 16th of 
July, there ensued the accidental explosion of a gun- 
powder magazine which they had formed in Patrick 
Street. The alarm which this produced, and the chance 
of some consequent disclosures, impelled the conspirators 
prematurely into action. They fixed the rising of the 

1 See Emmett 's own account, first published by Mr. Curran, and 
inserted in Howell's State Trials, vol. xxviiirp. 1178. 


people in Dublin for the evening of Saturday the 23rd. 
Some secret intelligence did reach the Government 
early that same afternoon, but no prompt measures were 
adopted. It was natural that subsequently the Go- 
vernment should be charged as having shown neither 
vigilance nor vigour. A great deal of recrimination 
followed between the Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Lieu- 
tenant, and General Fox, brother of the celebrated 
statesman, who was at this time Commander of the 
Forces in Ireland. 

Through the whole afternoon small parties of men 
were observed to come in from Palmerstown and other 
places, and to gather in the neighbourhood of Thomas 
Street, close to which was one of the secret depots of 
arms. By nine o'clock in the evening there might be 
four hundred assembled. Pikes and a few blunderbusses 
were then distributed among them from the depdt ; and 
some of the leaders appearing, urged them to proceed 
at once to attack the Castle. For so bold a step they 
were not, it seems, fully prepared. Instead of keeping 
in one main body, they fell again into separate parties. 
One of these unhappily met the coach of Lord Kilwarden, 
Chief Justice of the King's Bench, who had been at his 
country seat, five miles from Dublin, and was returning 
in all haste, having been apprised by express of the 
threatening appearances. In the carriage with him 
were his daughter and his nephew, the Rev. Arthur 
Wolfe. The venerable Judge was dragged out, and, in 
spite of his cries for mercy, was inhumanly butchered 
with pikes. His mangled body bore the trace of no le?s 
than thirty wounds. His nephew, who had already 
escaped to some distance, was met by another party and 
killed in the same manner. To Miss Wolfe, on the 
contrary, a touch of compassion was shown. She was 
protected from harm, it is said, by two of the rebel chiefs 
on horseback; and through their interposition made 
her way to the Castle, where she was almost the first to 
bring the tidings of her father's fall. 


After these and some other deeds of blood, several of 
the insurgent bands formed themselves again into one 
mass, and collected in High Street with the apparent 
intention of attacking the Castle. By this time, how- 
ever, the military were in motion. Parties of soldiers 
and policemen advanced against the rebels, and, after 
some volleys, entirely dispersed them. In their retreat 
they were enabled to carry off their dead and wounded ; 
but their leaders now concealed themselves or fled, and 
no attempt was made to renew the insurrection. By the 
vigilant search of the police on the next ensuing days, 
the secret depots of arms were brought to light. In 
one alone there were several thousand heads of pikes. 
There were machines made of planks and set with spikes 
— a favour designed for the feet of the cavalry horses. 
There were also magnificent uniforms in green and gold 
for the Generals that were to be. 

No sooner did the events of the 23rd at Dublin 
become known to the Government in England than a 
Message from the King upon them was sent down to both 
Houses. Addresses in reply were unanimously voted. 
Then the Prime Minister rose to bring in a Bill enabling 
the Lord Lieutenant to try at once, by Court Martial, 
all persons taken in rebellion, and to suspend the Habeas 
Corpus Act in Ireland. The operation of the Act was 
limited to six weeks after the commencement of the 
next Session of Parliament, and it was pressed through 
all its stages with the utmost despatch. 

Shortly afterwards Major Sirr, the same officer so 
active in the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, dis- 
covered Robert Emmett in a hiding-place in the county 
of Wicklow, and carried him back to Dublin. Emmett 
delivered an eloquent speech upon his trial, but could 
make no effectual defence, and met his fate with un- 
shaken constancy and courage. Nineteen other pri- 
soners who had taken part in the Dublin insurrection 
were brought to trial in the months of August and Sep- 
tember. One was acquitted, and one was pardoned ; 


the rest, like Emmett, underwent the extreme sentence 
ot the law. 

At nearly the close of these trials, we find them 
summed up as follows by Mr. Wickham, the Secretary 
for Ireland, in writing- to the Speaker, who was his inti- 
mate friend : — ' So much for our civil proceedings, which 
will ensure the peace of the country, if the French do 
not come. But if they do, and in force, God help us ! 
Be assured we are not prepared to meet them. Do not 
cite me for this opinion ; I have given it over and over 
again in the strongest manner a qui de droit.'' x 

From the exigency of public business, the Session of 
Parliament had been prolonged to a date most unusual 
at that period. Not until the 12th of August did the 
King close it by a Speech from the Throne. ' It is 
painful to me,' said His Majesty, ' to reflect that the 
means of necessary exertion cannot be provided without 
a heavy pressure upon my faithful people.' 



Occupation of Hanover by the French — Preparations of the First 
Consul for invading England — M. Thiers 's account of the terror 
inspired by them — The Volunteers— Pitt's Cinque Port Regiment 
— State of his health — Reminiscences of his conversation — Lady 
Hester Stanhope — Pitt's tour of inspection — Controversy carried 
on in pamphlets — Conduct of Government respecting the defence 
of the country — Pitt's gun-boats — Grand Volunteer Reviews in 
Hyde Park — Ministerial changes, and Parliamentary recruits — 
Pitt's Speech on the Volunteers — Volunteer Exemption Bill — 
State of the Navy. 

On the renewal of the war between France and England, 
the P'irst Consul, without an hour's delay, turned his 
whole mind to the vigorous prosecution of the contest. 

1 Letter dated Dublin Castle, Sept. 22, 1803, and appended to 
the Colchester Diary. 


He would not allow, as the German Princes claimed, 
that the Electorate of Hanover, as part of their ' Holy 
Roman Empire,' should maintain its convenient neu- 
trality. On the contrary, he sent a force of twenty-five 
thousand men under General Mortier, not only to reduce 
as was easy, but to hold and occupy that country. He 
drew large revenues from the dependent Republic of 
Italy. He imposed a monthly subsidy on the scarcely 
less dependent Kingdom of Spain. He devoted to his 
warlike preparations the sum of fifty-four millions of 
francs, which he had received in ready money from the 
United States, as part price for the province of Louisiana, 
which he had ceded to them. And above all he ap- 
pealed — and who ever appealed in vain ? — to the military 
ardour of the Ancienne France. 

The scheme upon which all the energies of the First 
Consul seemed at this time to be centred was an inva- 
sion of England on the most gigantic scale. The camp 
along the heights of Boulogne was sometimes animated 
by his presence, and constantly directed by his genius. 
There a hundred thousand men, all excellent troops, were 
arrayed in sight of the English shores. Fifty thousand 
more, equally prepared for action, were spread over the 
coast of France, old and new, from Brest to Antwerp. 
There were the men who had contended with the Mama- 
lukes at the foot of the Pyramids, or with the Russians 
along the passes of the Alps. There were the recent 
victors of Marengo, and the coming victors of Auster- 
litz. A small part of this vast force, to be embarked in 
the fleet at Brest, was designed for Ireland; but by far 
the greater number were to muster at Boulogne, and to 
make straight for the shores before them. London was 
to be their aim, and the First Consul himself would be 
their leader. 

The principal difficulty was of course the passage of 
the Channel. A far superior British fleet would, it was 
taken for granted, ride the sea ; but there were states of 
wind and tide when small light vessels, with the aid of 


oars, might slip past unmolested by the men-of-war. 
With this view there was devised a system of flat- 
bottomed boats for the transport of troops. Other boats 
of a different kind would serve for horses and artillery. 
It was calculated that to convey so vast an armament, 
even two thousand boats would not suffice ; but the 
plans for them being once approved, their construction 
was immediately begun. It was hoped that by the 
close of autumn they might be completed and ready for 
the enterprise. 

Of the boats thus put in requisition, about one thou- 
sand were to be constructed in the neighbouring ports, 
and then to be brought round to the central station ; 
but more than twelve hundred were in progress at the 
central station itself. There the clangour of the ship- 
builders in never-ceasing activity mingled with the 
measured tread or the martial music of the soldiers. 
Even Xerxes, from the coast of Attica, did not in truth 
gaze on so mighty an armament as Napoleon might 
then contemplate from the cliffs of Boulogne. 

A king sate on the rocky brow 
That looks o'er sea-born Salamis, 
And ships by thousands lay below, 
And men in nations — all were his ! 

A full account of these enormous preparations has 
been given by an eloquent and able historian of our own 
day — Monsieur Thiers. He goes on to say that at the 
first tidings of them in their entire magnitude a shud- 
dering affright — un frisson de terreur — ran through 
every rank in England — dans toutes les classes de la 
nation. 1 I know not on what testimonies M. Thiers has 
here relied. For my own part I have discovered none 
in support of this frisson de terreur. So far as I have 
seen them, the most trustworthy records point to a very 
different conclusion. They represent the English people 
as not rashly undervaluing either the genius or the 

1 Hixtoire du Consulat et de V Empire, vol. iv. p. 504. M. Thiers 
a' Ms, however, ' Ce n'etait pas la line jpretwe de manque de courage.' 1 


resources of the great chief opposed to them, but as 
steadily determined, by all human efforts, to meet and 
overcome them. Not merely, as I have shown in an 
earlier passage, were all the votes for national defence 
most cheerfully accorded by the representatives of the 
people in Parliament.' Not merely was the navy re- 
solved, if any exertions could achieve it, to repel the 
invaders in mid-sea. Not merely was the army resolved 
to confront them, if it must be so, on our native shores. 
But chiefly and above all, there arose in 1803, as in 
1860, the indomitable spirit of the Volunteers. Men of 
all ranks or creeds or classes pressed forward, eager to 
have arms and be enrolled. We may indeed say of 
both periods, as Sir Walter Scott has well said of the 
former, that ' it is remarkable how the good sense and 
firmness of the people supplied almost all deficiencies 
of inexperience.' Those men who were unable to serve 
in person were most willing to contribute in purse. No- 
where, perhaps, is there a more striking description of 
that strong and fervid impulse than is drawn by the 
same admirable master of fiction, who here, however, is 
dealing with no fiction, but with a national movement 
which he saw and which he shared. In his novel of 
8 The Antiquary,' he relates how Bailie Littlejohn of 
Fairport and his brother magistrates were beset by the 
quartermasters of the different corps for billets for their 
men and horses. ' Let us,' said the Bailie, ' take the 
horses into our warehouses and the men into our par- 
lours — share our supper with the one, and our forage 
with the other. We have made ourselves wealthy under 
a free and paternal government, and now is the time to 
show we know its value.' 

In July, 1803, as I have already related, the Govern- 
ment brought in a measure, scarcely adequate to the 
emergency, for the regulation of the Volunteers. A 
Circular Letter from Lord Hobart to the Lords Lieu- 
tenant, tending to discourage, and even in some cases 
to reject, their offers, gave them much offence ; but 


their energy and spirit rose superior to all Ministerial 
defects. Even before the close of summer it was calcu- 
lated that upwards of three hundred thousand had been 
accepted and enrolled. 1 

Of those who did good service at this trying period, 
Mr. Pitt was among the foremost. The course which 
he took will best appear from a letter which the Secre- 
tary of State addressed to him : — 

Lord Hobart to Mr. Pitt. 

Downing Street, Aug. 3, 1803. 
My dear Sir, — I must request of you to have the good- 
ness to send me officially the offer for raising a corps of Vo- 
lunteers within the Cinque Ports, of which you proposed to 
take the command, dated upon the day on which you 
privately made the communication to me, as there will in 
that case be no difficulty in my signifying His Majesty's 
acceptance of it upon the terms contained in the enclosed 
papers ; and in order to save time, it would be advisable 
that you should specify, in the first instance, the number of 
which you propose that the corps should consist, and the 
names of the officers. 

I have the honour, &c, Hobart. 

Mr. Pitt did write accordingly in full detail, dating 
his communication on the day of his verbal offer — 
namely, July 27, 1803. That letter is now preserved 
in the State Paper Office. 2 

On his return to Walmer Castle, when the Session 
bad closed, Pitt applied himself at once to carry out bis 
scheme. By great activity and energy he had very soon 
on foot an excellent regiment of Volunteers, divided 
into three battalions, and numbering three thousand 
men. He was constantly seen on horseback, and in full 
Volunteer uniform as the Colonel in chief, exercising 

1 This is the number stated by Addington himself in writing to 
his brother, August 30, 1803. See his Life, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. 
p. 226. 

2 It will be found in vol. vii. of the class Internal Defenoe, 1803. 
In June, 1861, a copy was sent me by Lord Herbert of Lea. 


and reviewing his men. It was acknowledged on all 
hands, that as, from the circumstances of the coast, Pitt 
held the post of principal danger, so he set the most 
conspicuous example of zeal for the national defence. 
'Pitt is doing great things as Lord Warden,' writes 
Wilberforce to Muncaster. Even the caustic Peter 
Pindar, until then his most constant detractor, was moved 
to some words that may almost amount to praise : — 

Come the Consul whenever he will — 

And he means it when Neptune is calmer — 

Pitt will send him a d bitter pill 

From his fortress the Castle of Walmer I ' 

A pleasantry of Pitt at this time has been preserved 
by tradition. It seems that one battalion which he was 
forming, or in the formation of which he was consulted, 
did not show the same readiness as distinguished the 
rest. Their draft Rules which they sent to Pitt were 
full of cautions and reserves. The words * except in 
the case of actual invasion ' were constantly occurring. 
At length came a clause that at no time, and on no 
account whatever, were they to be sent out of the 
country. Pitt here lost patience, and taking up his 
pen, he wrote opposite to that clause in the draft the 
same words as he had read in the preceding, ' except in 
the case of actual invasion ! ' 

Notwithstanding the great energy and activity which 
Mr. Pitt evinced in forming his Cinque Port Volunteers, 
there is no doubt that his strength of constitution was 
at this time not a little impaired. So it had been for 
several years, most probably ever since his great illness 
in 1797. One main sign of this was the change in his 
morning hours, which I have elsewhere related. To 
the same cause we may ascribe his growing disincli- 
nation to employ himself in private correspondence. 
Pitt, in his letter to my father of March, 1803, alludes 
to this himself in a good humoured strain. Lord 
Grenville, in a letter to Lord Wellesley of July, 1803, 

1 Peter Pindar's Works, vol. v. p. 188, ed. 1812. 


says of Pitt, as we have seen, that lie had ' contracted 
the bad habit of never writing to any one.' That this 
was a great exaggeration is clear, even from the nu- 
merous insertions in my present volume. But it is not 
to be denied that at this time, and subsequently to the 
close of his life, Mr. Pitt often delayed his answers to 
merely private letters, and sometimes failed to answer 
them at all. 

At this period my father, through the constant kind- 
ness of Mr. Pitt, was frequently his guest, both at 
"NValmer Castle and in town. Many years afterwards, 
by the aid of an excellent memory, he put on paper 
a few reminiscences of his great kinsman. Some of 
these, not already made use of in the course of my 
narrative, may perhaps at this place be most conve- 
niently inserted. 

Reminiscences of Mr. Pitt. 

He was a most agreeable and amiable as well as a most 
interesting companion, and bad a vast fund of anecdotes 
which he narrated admirably, and with much power of 
mimicry. His conversation was very lively and cheerful, 
and he preferred it to that of a graver character, for which 
reason the friends with whom he liked most to associate 
were those who had a similar disposition. Amongst their 
number were Charles Long (afterwards Lord Farnborough), 
J. C. Villiers (afterwards Lord Clarendon), General Phipps, 
Sir Alexander Hope, and Ferguson of Pitfour, who was 
often the subject of his good humoured raillery. 

Interrupting for a moment the course of these short 
Reminiscences, I would remark that Ferguson of Pit- 
four was, in his day, a well-known humorist, and often 
figured in Lord Sidmouth's stories. Here is one which 
Dean Pellew has preserved. One day Ferguson with 
several other Members was dining in the coffee-room of 
the House of Commons, when some one ran in to tell 
them that Mr. Pitt was on his legs. Every one prepared 
to leave the table except Ferguson, who remained 
quietly seated. ' What ! ' said they, ' won't you go 


to bear Mr. Pitt?' — 'No,' he replied ; 'why should I? 
Do you think Mr. Pitt would go to hear me?' — 'But 
indeed I would,' said Mr. Pitt, when the circumstance 
was related to him. 1 

Reminiscences of Mr. Pitt continued. 

He thought Abbadie's work on the Christian Religion 2 
was the best he had read on that subject. 

He said with respect to the public letters of Lord Boling- 
broke, which were published in two 4to. volumes, ' They 
convey to me a much higher opinion of his political talents 
than any of his other works.' 

Gil Bias he considered the best of all novels. 

My father had asked Lord Chatham to what circum- 
stance he ascribed his successes in the Seven Years' War 1 
to which the other very modestly replied, ' To my obtaining 
accurate information respecting the places which I intended 
to attack.' I mentioned this to Mr. Pitt, who said, ' What- 
ever may have been the case in my father's time, I found it 
very difficult to acquire such information.' 

It was said of Lord Chatham's eloquence by Mr. Pitt, in 
conversing with me, ' There was much light and shade in my 
father's speeches ; ' and he added, ' they were very incor- 
rectly reported.' 

Mr. Pitt said to me of Lord Buckingham that he had 
' the condescension of pride.' 

It was, I believe, in the course of this month of 
August that Mr. Pitt made a great alteration in his 
household. Lady Hester Stanhope on her return from 
the Continent with Mr. and Mrs. Eoferton found her 
grandmother at Burton Pynsent no more. Estranged 
as she had been from her father, she was then at a loss 
for a home. Of her two uncles, Lord Chatham, since 

1 Life of Lord Sidmouth, vol. i. p. 153. 

2 The work here referred to — Traite de la Verite de la Religion 
ChrOienne — is comprised in two volumes, and first appeared at Rot- 
terdam in 1684. A Roman Catholic theologian, the Abbe Houteville 
(as cited in the Biograpliia Britannica), says of it : — ' Of all the 
treatises in defence of the Christian Faith which have been pub- 
lished by Protestants, the most eminent is that written by M. Ab- 


the death of the Dowager Countess, had taken the 
charge of another and an orphan niece, Miss Eliot. 
There remained to Lady Hester only the hope of Mr. 
Pitt. But the hope founded on his generous temper 
was at once fulfilled. He welcomed bis niece to his 
house as her permanent abode. Henceforth she sat at 
the head of his table, and assisted him in doing the 
honours to his guests. 

At this time Major-General Edmund Phipps was a 
visitor for some days at Walmer Castle, and he an- 
nounced the event amongst other news in writing to his 
brother, Lord Mulgrave. We find Lord Mulgrave re- 
mark in reply : * How amiable it is of Pitt to take com- 
passion on poor Lady Hester Stanhope, and that in a 
way which must break in upon his habits of life ! He 
is as good as he is great.' 1 

There is no doubt, as Lord Mulgrave here implies, 
that confirmed as Mr. Pitt was now in what may be 
called old-bachelor habits, he cannot have taken this 
step without some misgiving. He must have felt that 
he might be sacrificing or greatly hazarding his future 
comfort for the sake of a niece whom, up to that time, 
he had very seldom seen. But I rejoice to think that 
his kind act — as by a propitious order of things is 
often the case with such acts — brought after it its 
own reward. Lady Hester quickly formed for him a 
strong and devoted attachment, which she extended to 
his memory so long as her own life endured. On his part 
he came to regard her with almost a father's affection. 

In her latter years Lady Hester Stanhope has been 
frequently described. Travellers in Palestine all sought 
to visit the recluse of Mount Lebanon. Many failed in 
gaining access to the 'castled crag' where she dwelt 
alone, and have indulged their spleen in bitter com- 
ments on one whom they never saw. Others who 
succeeded have portrayed, and, perhaps, as I may deem, 

1 Letter dated York, Sept. 3, 1803, and published in 1'hipps's 
Memoirs of Mr, Robert Plvmer Ward, vol. i. p. 113, ed, 1850. 


exaggerated, the violence of her temper and the eccen- 
tricity of her opinions. But not such was the Hester 
Stanhope who, at the age of twenty-seven, became the 
inmate of her uncle's house. With considerable personal 
attractions the Lady Hester of 1 803 combined a lively 
flow of conversation, and an inborn quickness of dis- 
cernment. Her wit was certainly even then far too 
satirical, and too little under control. She made even 
then many enemies, but she also made many friends. 
Mr. Pitt was on some occasions much discomposed by 
her sprightly sallies, which did not always spare his own 
Cabinet colleagues. But on the whole her young 
presence proved to be, as it were, a light in his dwelling. 
It gave it that charm which only a female presence can 
impart. It tended, as I believe, far more than his 
return to power, to cheer and brighten his few — too 
few — remaining years. 

I have said that her wit was too unrestrained, and 
that it did not always spare Mr. Pitt's most intimate 
friends. Of this I will give only one instance, which I 
heard from Mr. Pitt's last surviving Private Secretary. 
It refers to the Lord Mulgrave from one of whose 
letters I just now cited a sentence. Sixteen months 
from the date of that letter Lord Mulgrave was named 
by Mr. Pitt Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a 
post which, as some persons thought, would overtask 
his mental powers. Shortly afterwards Lord Mulgrave 
came one morning to breakfast with Mr. Pitt, and 
desiring to eat an egg, could find on the table only a 
broken egg-spoon. ' How can Pitt have such a spoon as 
this?' he asked of Lady Hester. 'Don't you know,' 
answered the lively lady, 'have you not yet discovered 
that Mr. Pitt sometimes uses very slight and weak in- 
struments to effect his ends ?' ' 

1 Since, however, the first edition of these volumes, Lord Nbr- 
manby has expressed to me his conviction that no such pert retort 
was ever actually addressed to his father. I may add that Mr. 
Adams was not himself present at the breakfast -party, but remem- 
bered the account of it which Lady He>ter gave. 



In the beginning of September Mr. Pitt proceeded 
on a tour of inspection through the Cinque Ports, ac- 
companied by Major-General Phipps. He examined 
with care the divers fortifications and harbours, and 
directed the most effectual measures for national 
defence. Thus, in his hands and under the circum- 
stances of the time, did the ancient office of Lord 
Warden resume its lustre and its powers. Moreover 
at every interval of leisure Pitt was out with his 
Volunteers. On them and on him, as they all felt, 
would devolve, if the French landed, the honourable 
duty of striking the first blow. ' I am uneasy at it,' 
writes Wilberforce to a friend. ' He does not engage 
on equal or common terms, and his spirit will lead him 
to be foremost in the battle. Yet, as it is his proper 
part, one can say nothing against it.' 

On the return of Mr. Pitt to Walmer Castle, he had 
to consider a point in politics. A paper war was begun 
against him by some friends of the Ministry. A pam- 
phlet had come forth entitled ' Cursory Remarks upon 
the State of Parties by a Near Observer.' That publi- 
cation was no doubt made so far back as the commence- 
ment of August, since we find it mentioned by Mr. 
Wilberforce on the 11th. 1 But it does not seem to 
have attracted much attention until the commencement 
of the ensuing month. At that time, indeed, it was, as 
I presume, new-modelled, since its Dedication bears 
the date September 5, 1803. Lord Mulgrave, writing on 
the 9th, says that he has only just received it. 2 Written 
as it was with much ability, and proceeding, as was 
whispered, from men in power, it very soon attained a 
considerable circulation. Of two copies which I have 
seen at the British Museum, one is of the ninth 

The whole tone of this pamphlet is of extreme aspe- 
rity to Mr. Pitt. It denounces him for two opposite 

1 Life, by bis Sons, vol. iii. p. 1 10. 

-' Pbipps's Memoirs of Wa/i'd, voL i. p. 137. 


faults — for timidity in his retirement from office, and for 
arrogance in the negotiations designed to bring him 
back to it. On the other hand, Mr. Addington is ex- 
tolled as a perfect or nearly perfect statesman. But the 
tendency of the ' Near Observer ' is sufficiently shown in 
a single sentence, the only one that need here be quoted. 
' I confess,' he says, ' that I look upon the attachment 
and deference of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for 
Mr. Pitt as a weakness — the only one I have discovered 
in his character.' 

In this pamphlet, the recent negotiations between 
Pitt and Addington, though garbled and misstated, 
were referred to with such circumstances of detail as to 
betoken an author acquainted with the real facts. ' It 
is evidently written by some confidential man,' says 
Wilberforce. Mr. Long positively ascertained that copies 
of it had been sent to several persons by Mr. Vansittart, 
Secretary of the Treasury. 1 It was natural to conclude, 
as did Pitt and all Pitt's friends at this juncture, that 
Addington was in truth at the bottom of the whole. 

In truth, however, Addington had not been con- 
sulted. Subsequently, on several occasions, he declared 
his entire ignorance of this production until after it was 
published. 2 Nor is there the least reason to doubt his 
word. Friends, and even relatives, had acted for him 
without his knowledge. The pamphlet had been written 
by a Mr. Bentley, to whom the facts were supplied by 
Mr. Bragge. 

With such misstatements of his conduct before him, 
and, above all, with such suspicions of the source from 
which these misstatements had sprung, Mr. Pitt was of 
course very much incensed. So were, likewise, all his 
friends. But Pitt's own feelings will best appear from 
a letter which he wrote at this time. 

1 See a note to Rose's Diaries, vol. ii. p. 62. 

2 Life, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 147. 

M 2 


.Ifr. Pitt to Lord Castlereagh. 

Waliner Castle, Sept. 21, 1803. 
My dear Lord, — I received last week your letter from 
Colchester, and, at the same time, the papers which you had 
directed to be sent me from London, respecting the impor- 
tant question in discussion between your Board and the 
Court of Directors. I should always feel a sincere pleasure 
in being able to comply with any wish of yours ; and as far 
as you are immediately concerned; could have no hesitation 
in giving you the best opinion in my power on any point on 
which you could be desirous of receiving it ; birt the decision 
on this question must, I conceive, necessarily be considered 
as a measure of the Government ; and in the situation in 
which I stand, especially after the injurious and offensive 
line which has been recently adopted towards me, apparently 
with the countenance at least of a leading part of that Go- 
vernment, I must feel it impossible to hold any private com- 
munication on any political subject even with those of its 
members to whom individually I am most disposed to retain 
every sentiment of kindness and regard. I am sure I need 
not apologise to you for having frankly assigned my reasons 
for requesting to return the papers without any observation ; 
and if you happen to have seen a publication which has made 
its appearance since the close of the Session, and has been 
circulated with uncommon industry, you will not be at a loss 
to know what it is to which I particularly refer. Believe 
me, my dear Lord, with every personal good wish, 

Faithfully and sincerely yours, W. Pitt. 

To this letter no reply was for a long- time returned. 

Lord Chatham was at Walmer Castle on a visit sub- 
sequently to the publication of the offensive pamphlet. 
But he never mentioned it to Mr. Pitt, nor did JNI r. 
Pitt to him. The second Earl of that great name was 
well content, as it seems to me, both then and afterwards, 
placidly to float along with his friends in office. After 
the failure of Addington's overtures, there was little of 
political communication between the two brothers. I 
have found among their manuscripts no letter of Mr. 
Pitt to Lord Chatham from May, 1803, till towards the 
close of the following year. 


Mr. Pitt had, however, an early opportunity of con- 
sulting with some friends far more zealous for his fame 
than his brother appeared to be. He had to go to town 
on some business of the Trinity House. On the 2nd 
of October he arrived in the morning, having slept the 
night before at Lord Darnley's beautiful seat, Cobham 
Park. He went at once to see Kose in Palace Yard, 
where, next day, he also met Long. All three agreed 
that there ought to be an answer to the pamphlet. The 
question was only to whom the task should be committed. 
Several names were talked of. At last was suggested 
Mr. Thomas Peregrine Courtenay, son of the late Bishop 
of Exeter. Still a very young man, he was a Clerk in the 
Stationery Office, and had recently published a sensible 
essay on finance. It was decided that Mr. Courtenay 
should be asked to undertake the answer from the notes 
of Long, and under the superintendence of Pitt. 

On this footing then was the counter-pamphlet 
written, and a few weeks afterwards sent forth. It was 
entitled 'Plain Answer to the Misrepresentations and 
Calumnies contained in the Cursory Remarks of a Near 
Observer. By a More Accurate Observer.' Though 
exciting much interest at the time, and going through 
several editions, this pamphlet is at present very scarce. 
I have seen a copy of it at the British Museum, and 
found it to contain a clear and temperate reply to the 
various points alleged. 

Of these points there is one, and one only, that I 
desire to produce at length, because it seems to me to 
settle decisively, and once for all, the extent of the 
engagement made by the retiring Minister in February, 
1801. The 'Near Observer' had asserted that there 
was ' the promise given and withdrawn, on the part of 
Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville, of constant, zealous, and 
active support of the present administration.' 

To this the ' More Accurate Observer,' with authority 
from Walmer Castle, replies as follows : — 

' Mr. Pitt undoubtedly, when he retired from office, 


felt convinced that, under the circumstances of the 
period, His Majesty had selected for his advisers persons 
by whom il was probahle that the government of the 
country would be wisely and safely administered. He 
felt them, therefore, entitled to his support, and, as well 
as Lord Grenville, gave them his assurance of it. To 
give to any set of men a promise of constant support, 
Let their conduct be what it ivould, is as inconsistent with 
every idea of public duty as it certainly is with common 
sense or common honesty. Neither Mr. Pitt nor Lord 
Grenville ever gave, nor did Mr. Addington ever under- 
stand that he had received, such a promise.' 

The pamphlet was by no means the only question 
discussed between the friends in Palace Yard, as the 
following extract from Eose's Diary will best show : — 
' We next talked of the conduct of Government re- 
specting the defence of the country, which appeal's daily 
to be more and more incomprehensible. Mr. Pitt told 
me that very early after his arrival in the country he 
had an offer from the people of Deal of fifty gunboats, 
which he immediately communicated to Government, 
and it was accepted. Convinced of the great utility of 
such a defence, he obtained from some other places an 
offer of fifty more; but before he was regularly autho- 
rised to communicate that to the administration, he re- 
ceived ,i private letter from Lord Hobart, requesting 
him to get more boats if he could. Of course he replied 
to his Lordship that he had anticipated his wish to the 
extent above mentioned, and, at the same time, wrote 
to the Admiralty to beg that, they would order the second 
set to be fitted ; to which he received for answer from 
their Lordships, that Lord Hobart was taking other 
measures for obtaining gun-boats, to be equipped as well 
a- found by the ports, besides which the Admiralty had 
no 4- pound carronades to spare. 

' The last observation is the more extraordinary, as 
only four or five of the boats required carronades so 
small as this, and there are plenty of larger ones in 


store. After which a correspondence took place between 
Mr. Pitt, Captain Essington commanding the Sea Fen- 
cibles at Dover, the Navy Board, and the Admiralty- 
Board, the latter having reprimanded Captain Essington 
for encouraging the application about fitting the gun- 
boats, though lie had been called upon by the Navy 
Board to state how many were required to be fitted ; 
and at this moment no orders have been given by the 
Admiralty for the purpose, but they are now daily ex- 
pected. Mr. Pitt has on the whole one hundred and 
fifty gun-boats.' 

Mr. Rose also tells us in his Diary, that on the 3rd of 
October, and by Mr. Pitt's invitation, he went with him to 
a public dinner at the London Tavern, on the swearing 
in of the officers of the Trinity House Volunteers. ' The 


sight,' he adds, ' was really an extremely affecting one 
— a number of gallant and exceedingly good old men, 
who had during the best part of their lives been beating 
the waves, now coming forward with the zeal and spirit 
of lads, swearing allegiance to the King, with a deter- 
mined purpose to act manfully in his defence, and for 
the protection of the capital.' 

On the morning after this dinner Mr. Pitt appears 
to have returned to Walmer Castle. It was not until 
subsequently that Lord Castlereagh wrote him a reply. 

Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Pitt. 

East Sheen, Oct. 6, 1803. 

My deal- Sir, — I received your letter when in Suffolk. I 
cannot possibly misunderstand the motives which induced 
you to refrain from entering into any observations on the 
papers I sent you, and I trust those which led me to make 
the communication are not less obvious. I beg you will be 
assured that I am truly grateful for your invariable kindness 
t ■ me on all occasions. 

With reference to the publication alluded to in your 
letter, having always considered that production as the deli- 
berate aud malicious effort of some individual to promote 
his own views through the separation of old friends, I very 


much regret not being so fortunate as to see you before you 
left town, as I think I could have satisfied your mind, from 
circumstances which incidentally fell within my own know- 
ledge, that your impressions, as applied to the person to 
whom they seem principally to refer, are without foundation. 
Believe me ever, my dear Sir, most sincerely yours, 


The spirit of the Volunteers, signally evinced as in 
many other places, so at the banquet of the Trinity 
House on the 2nd of October, was further animated by 
a grand review on the 26th. Then several regiments 
of these gallant men, connected with London or its 
neighbourhood, were reviewed in Hyde Park by the 
King in person. A second review, comprising other 
regiments from the like district, took place on the 
28th. Reckoning both days, upwards of twenty-seven 
thousand men were present under arms, and the con- 
course of spectators on the former has been estimated 
at two hundred thousand. 1 Many years afterwards 
Lord Eldon declared that this was, he thought, the 
tinest sight that he had ever seen. 2 The King was in 
high health and excellent spirits. When the 'Temple 
Companies ' had defiled before him, His Majesty in- 
quired of Erskine, who commanded them as Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, what was the composition of that corps. 
1 They are all lawyers, Sir,' said Erskine. ' What ! 
what ! ' exclaimed the King, * all lawyers ? all lawyers ? 
Call them the Devil's Own — call them the Devil's 
Own ! ' And the Devil's Own they were called ac- 
cordingly. Even at the present day this appellation 
has not wholly died away. Yet notwithstanding the 
Royal parentage of this pleasantry, I must own that I 
greatly prefer to it another which was devised in 1860. 
It was then in contemplation to inscribe upon the 
banner of one of the legal companies, ' Retained for the 

' Ann. Begist. 1803, p. 450. 

2 Twiss's TAfe of Eldon, vol. i. p. 116. 


All through October and November Mr. Pitt con- 
tinued to be busy with his Volunteers. Two of his 
familiar notes at this period refer, the first to the Kings 
great review, and the second to one of his own : — 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Mahon. 

Walmer Castle, Oct. 25, 1803. 
Dear Mahon, — I am happy to think that your labours 
are drawing to a successful conclusion, and that we are likely 
to see you soon. Nothing can be more kind and liberal than 
the allowance you propose for your brothers. The sums you 
mentioned of 1507. per annum for Charles, and 707. for 
James, will, I trust, be quite sufficient to defray all necessary 
expenses, and are at the same time not more than it is de- 
sirable they should receive. I flatter myself your kindness 
to them will be repaid by their progress in their professions, 
and their future success in life. Charles is very properly 
growing impatient to join his regiment at Ashford, and has 
therefore determined to go to town by the mail this evening, 
as the shortest way of completing his equipment. Lord Car- 
rington and I are just setting out to one of our field-days at 
the Isle of Thanet, whilst you are probably a spectator at the 
magnificent review in Hyde Park. Lord Carrington re- 
turned your papers by Monday's post. 

Adieu ! Ever affectionately yours, W. P. 

Walmer Castle, Tuesday, 6 p.m. 
Dear Mahon, — We settled with Colonel Cuppage to go 
to Barham Down to-morrow to see a review of horse artil- 
lery. It occurs to me that probably some of the party at 
Deal Castle might like to see it also. In that case they 
must start precisely at nine, to be there at eleven. There is 
a good coach-road through Mongeham, which the Deal posti- 
lions of course know. Hester means to ride with me to 
Barham, but we all propose to return in a carriage; and if 
Lady ( 'arrington can spare us one of the coaches, I will order 
horses to be put to it, instead of sending over two chaises. I 
conclude you will choose to chevaucher, escorting the ladies 
in the carriage. Affectionately yours, W. P. 

If the day proves bad, our party is to be put off till 


It may be observed in this letter that Mr. Pitt, from 
his reading of old French books, borrows from them 
cheuaucher. That word is scarcely to be found in 
uny of the classic writers of the reign of Louis the 
Fourteenth. The Dictionary of Furetiere, published in 
1701, mentions it as already obsolete and quite disused. 
No other has arisen in its place, and the French are 
obliged to express its meaning by the periphrasis monter 
a cheval. It is strange that a nation renowned among 
all others for its excellent cavalry should not have in its 
language any one word in actual use expressing ' to ride.' 

It may also be observed that this letter implies a 
great intimacy between Lord Mahon and ' the party at 
Deal Castle.' Lord Mahon was indeed at this time 
residing with them. The legal settlements were in pro- 
gress for his marriage with Miss Catherine Lucy Smith, 
a younger daughter of Lord Carrington. It was a 
custom at that time, now almost wholly passed away, 
that marriages among persons of rank should not be 
solemnized in church, but rather by special licence at 
their private abode. According to this usage, the mar- 
riage in question was solemnized on the 19th of No- 
vember in the dining-room of Deal Castle. Mr. Pitt, as 
a friend of both families, was present at the ceremony. 
He continued to extend a constant kindness to Lord 
and Lady Mahon, who went, in the first instance, to live 
at Maxton, two or three miles beyond Dover. Subse- 
quently Mr. Pitt placed at their disposal a small house 
of his own, 'the Cottage,' which he had taken for the 
convenience of his guests at the gate of his "Walmer 

The meeting of Parliament had been fixed for the 
22nd of November. Previous to this there were some 
slight changes in the Ministry. Mr. Charles Yorke had 
been named Secretary of State at the close of the Ses- 
sion, in the room of Lord Pelliam, who was transferred 
to the Duchy of Lancaster; and a week before the 
meeting, another Secretary of State, Lord Hawkesbury, 


was summoned by writ to the House of Peers. This 
gave to the Government what they greatly needed — an 
accession of strength in that assembly. As it chanced, 
a similar accession fell at the same time to the share of 
Mr. Pitt ; for the death of the first Lord Harrowby, in 
the course of the summer, transferred to the Upper 
House one of Pitt's most able and most trusted friends, 
Mr. Dudley Ryder. 

Mr. Addington, besides his large Ministerial phalanx, 
continued to have hopes of some scattered individuals 
from the Opposition ranks. On Sheridan above all he 
firmly reckoned. That eminent orator, through the 
greater part of the last Session, had given to the Go- 
vernment an undisguised support. Perhaps, as recol- 
lecting his earlier course, Sheridan may on some occa- 
sions have done so a little awkwardly. Once at least 
he provoked a bitter gibe on that account. ' The Hon. 
gentleman,' said Windham, ' has this day shown all 
the zeal of a new convert in supporting administration, 
and, like a raw recruit, he has fired off his musket with- 
out ascertaining where the enemy is.' ' 

In November following Fox writes as follows to 
Grey : ' As to Sheridan, I think him even more gone 
than I had supposed. I dined with him one day at 
Brooks's, and another day at Lord George Cavendish's; 
and he certainly was rather run at, but he seemed to 
grow worse and worse.' 2 

Another recruit, or semi-recruit, was Erskine. He 
certainly continued to have hopes of some official ap- 
pointment from the Ministry. We find him in Sep- 
tember write in confidence to Mr. Bond, one of the 
Lords of the Treasury, and hint that in certain cases he 
would much sooner support Addington than Fox. This 
letter has been found exactly where Erskine designed 
that it should go — that is, in Addington's desk. 3 

1 Pari. Hist. vol. xxxvi. p. 1670. 

- Mi morials of Fo.v, vol. iii. p. 436. 

3 iSee it at full length in Dean l'ellew's Biography, vol. ii. p. 256. 


The course of Pitt at this time will best be sliown 
by some correspondence which I now subjoin. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Walmer Castle, Nov. JO, 1803. 

Dear Rose, — It "would have given me great pleasure if I 
could have seen you here, but I am not surprised that your 
occupations have been too constant to allow of so distant an 
excursion, especially when the defence of your district seems 
to rest almost entirely on individual zeal and example. As 
far as they can go, fortunately you have been able to supply 
them in abundance from the circle of your own family ; but 
these alone cannot be sufficient if Government persists in 
such unaccountable negligence and inactivity. Our state of 
defence is certainly (comparatively speaking) very complete, 
though still, in many respects, very far short of what it ought 
to have been, and what it easily might have been. 

On the whole, I think there is good ground to expect that 
we shall be able to give a very good account of any force 
that seems likely to reach any part of this coast, and shall 
be able to prevent its penetrating into the interior. But if, 
by any accident, we were to be overpowered in the first in- 
stance, I am by no means satisfied that any adequate force 
could be collected in time to stop the enemy's further pro- 
gress till they had arrived much nearer the capital than we 
should like. I have been turning my thoughts a good deal 
to the object of rendering the Volunteer force throughout 
the country permanently more efficient than it seems likely 
to be (except in a few instances) under the present arrange- 
ments; and I will endeavour before long to send you a note 
of what occurs to me, on which I shall be very glad to have 
your opinion. 

Till within these two days I had persevered in the in- 
tention of going to town for the 22nd, but the state of the 
preparations on the opposite .side, and the uncertainty from 
• lay to day whether the attempt may not be made imme- 
diately, make me unwilling to leave the coast at present. I 
have, therefore, nearly determined to give up attending the 
first day : but T am still inclined to think that it may be 
right (if I can find an interval of two days) to take some op- 
portunity before the Recess to notice the principal omissions 


on the part of Government in providing for onr defence, and 
to suggest the measures which seem still necessary towards 
completing it. I shall, of course, wish to have it understood 
hy my friends that I shall probably attend in the course of 
the Session before Christmas, and that my absence on the 
first day proceeds entirely from my unwillingness to leave 
my duties here. Lord Camden (who left me this morning) 
and Lord Carrington are the only persons with whom I have 
had the opportunity of talking on this subject, and they both 
agree with me in thinking this the best plan. 

Ever sincerely yours, W. P. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Rose. 

Walmer Castle, Dec. 2, 1803. 

Dear Rose, — I shall be so constantly occupied all next week 
in going round to my different battalions, that it will be im- 
possible for me to think of going to town till the week after; 
but I hope to be at liberty on Monday se'nnight, and to 
reach town by dinner-time that day. I agree very much in 
all you say of the pamphlet, and 1 think particularly that a 
note, adding a much more ample statement on the finance, 
will be very useful in a new edition. We may talk of this 
more when we meet, which I hope will now be very soon. 

Ever yours, W. P. 

Pitt went accordingly to town. On the 9th of De- 
cember he appeared in the House of Commons, and 
took part in the debate — the field-day, as it proved, of 
that early Session. The Army Estimates were then 
the subject, or at least the occasion, of the contest. 
Windham began by a most ingenious and amusing 
speech in disparagement of the Volunteers. While ad- 
mitting their zeal, he could not rely on their exertions, 
and must place his entire dependence upon regular 
troops. ' Only think,' he cried, ' of trying to make 
soldiers as you would make freeholders — of giving expe- 
rience and discipline as you would the franchise to resi- 
dent inhabitants paying scot and lot !' 

The new Secretary of State, Mr. Charles Yorke, 
replied to Windham on the part of the Government. 


Then Pitt rose. He also, in his opening sentences, 
adverted in terms of decided difference to the remark- 
able speech of his Eight Hon. friend. But some fur- 
ther extracts from his own ample statement will show 
the defects which he imputed to the Ministry in their 
direction of the Volunteer force, and the practical im- 
provements whicli he desired to suggest. 

He began as follows : 

' It is not my intention at present, Sir, to follow 
the example of my Eight Hon. friend (Mr. Windham) 
in taking that detailed and comprehensive view of the 
subject before the Committee ; neither is it my inten- 
tion to go into any retrospective discussion of the mea- 
sures of Government, nor to inquire whether the 
extraordinary means with which they were entrusted 
before the last prorogation of Parliament have been 
exercised with sufficient vigour and ability. Considering 
the danger with which the country was threatened as 
not yet passed, convinced that the crisis still impends, 
and that still we have further efforts to exert, and fur- 
ther precautions to adopt, in order to enable us to meet 
it, I am anxious to direct your attention only to such 
points as are particularly urgent, and on which delay 
would be inconvenient, if not dangerous ; and to sug- 
gest prospectively the consideration of those objects 
which are immediately connected with the public secu- 
rity I am the more anxious to do this, as I have 

the misfortune to differ fundamentally from my Eight 
Hon. friend with regard to what should be the nature 
of that force to which we ought to look as a permanent 
source of safety throughout the whole of this contest, 
however long may be its duration I was for- 
merly, and still am, of opinion that to a regular Army 
alone, however superior, however excellent — that to the 
regular Army, even aided by the Militia, we ought not 
solely to trust ; but that in a moment so eventful, in a 
crisis so full of danger, in a contest so singular in its 
character, and whicli, perhaps, may be tedious in its 


duration, we ought to superadd to the regular Army 
some permanent system of national defence, either to a 
certain degree compulsory, or formed upon the voluntary 
zeal and patriotism of the country itself. This ought 
to be resorted to as the grand source of domestic secu- 
rity. The Army must be the rallying point ; the Army 
must furnish example, must afford instruction, must 
give us the principles on which that national system of 
defence must be formed, and by which the Volunteer 
forces of this country, though in a military point of 
view inferior to a regular Army, would, fighting on their 
own soil, for everything dear to individuals and im- 
portant to a state, be invincible Contemplating 

all these great and important objects, I cannot but rejoice 

that the Volunteer system has been formed I 

only wish that in the provisions which were enacted 
with regard to its extent, the numbers had been allotted 
with some relation to the local position and peculiar 
danger of the different parts of the country ; I only wish 
that when it was fixed generally that the Volunteer force 
might be six times the number of the Militia, a greater 
proportion had been assigned, or a facility had been 
reserved, of increasing it in the maritime counties, or 
in those most vulnerable and most exposed to the first 
attacks of the enemy. I am sorry that a different dis- 
tribution was not adopted with reference to the grand 
object of resisting and repelling the attempt of invasion 
in the first moment it should be made. I am confirmed 
by the opinions of much better judges than I can 
pretend to be of such a matter, that a much smaller 
force would be sufficient to harass or defeat the enemy 
on their first landing, than a much larger force after 
they had landed and recovered from the effects of their 
voyage. Both, therefore, with regard to the economy 
of money, but with regard to a much more important 
economy — that of lives, it would have been desirable 
that the number of Volunteers should have been in- 
creased and encouraged in proportion to the proximity 


to the coast, and to those points which are most liahle 

to attacks From what I* have observed, and 

from what I have heard of the state of the discipline of 
the Volunteers, I am more and more convinced that in 
order to bring them to any considerable degree of dis- 
cipline, they must be assembled in bodies, and that if 
they continue in companies they will make but little 
comparative progress. It seems desirable, therefore, 
that wherever it can be done, they should be formed 
into battalions. Where that cannot be done, they 
ought to be formed and brought together into as nu- 
merous connected bodies as circumstances will permit, 
so as to have the benefit of inspection and discipline. 
It appears to me extremely desirable, therefore, that 
every battalion of Volunteers should, in addition to its 
own officers, have the assistance of two officers of the 
service, one a Field Officer and one an Adjutant, to assist 
in the instruction and discipline of the corps. These 
officers should be considered as belonging to the Army, 
and should in every respect enjoy their rank, pay, and 
other advantages, as if they were actually serving in 

the Army I should imagine, however, upon a 

conjectural view of the matter, that the whole expense 
of a Field Officer and Adjutant for every battalion 
would not exceed 160,000^. or 180,0007. a year. Now 
this expense surely is trifling in comparison with ren- 
dering three hundred and fifty thousand men an effi- 
cient and improving force Before I sit down, I 

wish to say a few words respecting the exemptions to 
which Volunteers are entitled. It appears that what is 
understood to be the law on this subject is not what the 
Legislature intended. As the law stands, however, no 
exemption is allowed unless the person claiming it pro- 
duces a certificate that he has attended twenty-four 
drills previous to the 21st of September. But there 
are many who have attended twice that number of 
drills without having such a certificate, and, therefore, 
would be subject to the ballot. If any doubt remains 


as to the exemptions, it is but right that the Legisla- 
ture should pass an Act clearing it up, that those who 
were influenced by the prospect of exemptions, which 
they conceived were held out to them, may not have 
cause to complain that they were deceived by the am- 
biguity of the Acts of Parliament. There is another 
point. The law says that to entitle to exemption, the 
Volunteers claiming it must have been exercised with 
arms ; yet in some places it was impossible to pro- 
cure arms ; nor am I surprised at it, considering the 
great and sudden demand for supplying the Army of 
Reserve and the great number of Volunteers through- 
out the country. Yet, in such cases, it surely would be 
unreasonable to refuse the exemption, when the 
claimants had actually learnt many very important, 
and, perhaps, some of the most tedious parts of disci- 
pline without arms.' 

Fox, like Windham, though on very different 
grounds, was no great friend to the national movement 
of defence. He had written to Grey in August from 
St. Ann's : — ' Here we have Volunteers in plenty learn- 
ing on the green to stand easy, and so forth, but not a 
single weapon, gun, or pike among them all, and this 
they call training ! ' And again in November : — ' I 
mean on the day of the Army to support Windham 
cordially.' ' And so he did on the 9th of December in 
a most able speech. ' All this,' he cried, ' is quite of 
a piece with the theatrical ostentatious foppery of the 
Volunteers, which seems fit for nothing but to be put 
on the top of a hill to be looked at ! ' But Fox was 
far from confining himself to this single topic of the 
Volunteers. He inveighed against the recent refusal of 
the King to give a military post to the Prince of Wales. 
He spoke of the necessity of a military council. He com- 
plained of the recall of his brother from the command 
in Ireland, and defended, at great length, his brother's 
conduct. No other fault, he said, coidd be laid to the 

1 Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 424 and 433. 


General's charge than that he chanced to be brother of 
Mr. Charles Fox of the House of Commons, and first 
cousin of Lord Edward Fitzgerald. And he added, with 
perfect truth, 'No man of General Fox's rank has, I 
believe, mixed less at any time in the politics of the 

Both Thomas Grenville and Lord Castlereagh spoke 
in this debate, and both with great ability : the one in 
opposition to the Government, the other as a member 
of the Cabinet, in its support. Mr. Secretary Yorke 
addressed the House a second time. He said that the 
points just urged by Mr. Pitt ' deserved great con- 
sideration ; ' and he indicated that, as to some, he was 
inclining to adopt them. Adopt them in fact he did, 
and with the least possible delay. On the very next 
evening, the 10th of December, he rose in his place 
and. brought in a Volunteer Exemption Bill, dealing 
with the doubts and difficulties on that subject which 
Pitt had stated. No light proof surely how well- 
grounded were Pitt's suggestions, and how much of 
ascendency they carried with them. 

On the 12th, upon the Report of the Army Estimates, 
the system of national defences was again discussed. 
Then Windham renewed his lamentations : * Between 
Volunteers and Militia, the notion of a regular army 
has nearly dropped from your minds. You hardly in- 
quire what it is or where it is to be found. It seems to 
be the least part of the national defence. Pars minima 
est ipsa puella sui! ' Another man of genius injured 
only himself on this occasion : — ' Erskine made a foolish 
figure, I hear, in the debate on the Report.' So writes 
Fox, who was not present. 

Pitt took that opportunity to renew and to guard from 
misconception some of his late proposals : — ' One mis- 
conception,' he said, 'has possibly arisen from my wish 
to save the time of the House. So far from having for 
my object the appointment of field officers who were to 
have a control over the Colonels Commandant of the 


corps, nothing could be more repugnant to my feelings 
and sentiments. My sole and great object was to afford 
the Commandants of corps the benefit of the assistance 
and advice of officers not their superiors, but from ex- 
perience competent to aid them Such officers 

should not be placed over the Commandants of corps, 
but on the contrary be subordinate to them.' 

But here some practical objections were stated by 
the Government. ' I fear, 1 said Yorke, 6 it is out of 
the question to procure Field-Officers from the line in 
sufficient numbers.' ' I concur in the principle, but I 
have doubts of its practicability,' said Addington. . . . 
' I own, however, that I think the House indebted to the 
Right Hon. gentleman [no longer his Right Hon. friend] 
for his suggestion, as well as for that respecting Adju- 
tants, which has been adopted, and which has produced 
much good effect.' 

Besides these measures of military armament, the re- 
newed suspension of the Habeas Corpus in Ireland, and 
a martial law for the same country, there was little 
business transacted in this early Session. On the 20th 
of December the House of Commons adjourned to the 
1st of February following, and Pitt at once returned to 
Walmer Castle. 

While the military measures, past and present, were 
thus on several occasions most fully discussed, it may 
be noticed that little or nothing had yet been said about 
the naval. In truth, however, as soon afterwards ap- 
peared, they were the weakest point in the whole admi- 
nistration. When it was first formed there were great 
hopes from Lord St. Vincent. His appointment was 
hailed on every side as the best that could be made. It 
proved, on the contrary, one of the very worst that the 
Admiralty of England has ever known. To this very 
day it is held up as a standing argument on the side of 
those who maintain that a landsman may often be pre- 
ferred to a seaman as First Lord. 1 

1 ' But I have seen so many good and gallant Admirals make a 

N 2 


I am far from denying, however, that Earl St. Vincent 
meant well. He must have felt a true zeal for that 
noble profession in which his own glory was achieved. 
To remedy the abuses in several departments, he insti- 
tuted a Commission of Naval Inquiry, from which, as 
will be seen, some important results in general politics 
ensued. But his own reforms, as in the dockyards, were 
for the most part hasty, ill-considered, and imperious. 
Complaints and remonstrances, or, as his friendly bio- 
grapher prefers to call them, ' bowlings and yells,' arose 
on every side. ' All this,' adds the biographer, ' Lord 
St. Vincent was prepared for ; and, like Ulysses, he 
stopped his ears and pursued his way.' ' The first time 
perhaps that any Minister of State has been compli- 
mented for stopping his ears ! 

It is indeed only too plain that Lord St. Vincent 
would not listen to objections, and could not bear them 
with temper. When the press animadverts on his 
conduct, he declares himself ' assailed by base hireling 
assassins ! ' When a naval officer of rank presumes to 
speak against him in the House of Commons, that officer 
becomes * a sneaking cur ! ' 2 

Still far more serious were thecharges brought against 
Earl St. Vincent, that he had flattered himself to 
the last moment with the expectation of maintaining 
peace 3 — that he had reduced the navy to a very low 
ebb by the sale of ships and stores — that he had been 
feeble and remiss in his measures for the equipment of 
the fleet. Suffering from ill health, and governed by 
two or three personal favourites at the Board, it may 
be doubted whether the decisions that he made were all 
in truth his own. Certain it is that he evinced a wise 

very contemptible figure at this Board "—such are Lord St. Vin- 
cent's own words on his appointment. (Letter to the Duke of 
Grafton, dated Admiralty, Feb. 2<>, 1801.) 

1 Life of Ear} St. Yim-ml, by Captain Brenton, vol. ii. p. 157. 

2 Letters of January 21, 1801, and May 10, 180G. 

:i 'This F must admit to be true, 1 writes Captain Brenton (/.'/'■, 
vol. ii. p. L'12,). 

1804 LETTER TO MR. ROSE. 181 

and right judgment when, in March, 1803, he ex- 
pressed to Mr. Addington his desire to resign. It is to 
be regretted, both for his sake and the country's, that 
from other political considerations he was at that time 
pressed and persuaded to continue at his post. 



Lord Grenville's proposed junction with Fox — Declined by Pitt — - 
Party pamphlets — Illness of the King — Pitt's confidential con- 
versation with Lord Malmesbury — Proposed adjournment of the 
House of Commons — Pitt's speech on the Constitutional doctrine 
— Volunteer Consolidation Bill — Errors of Government in the 
Military and Naval systems — Pitt's Motion on the State of the 
Navy — Interview between Pitt and Lord Eldon — Deaths of Lord 
Camelford and Lord Alvanley— Lord Moira at Edinburgh — Cor- 
respondence of Pitt with Lord Melville — Votes in both Houses 
of Parliament — Resignation of Ministers — The King applies to 

Early in the new year we find Mr. Pitt return to town. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Hose. 

Rochester, Saturday night, 
Jan. 7, 1804. 

Dear Rose, — I write, having got thus far on my way to 
town. The weather seemed to allow me an interval in which 
I could leave the coast for a few days, and letters which I 
have had from some of my friends in town made me think 
it material not to delay coming up, in order to ascertain what 
is likely to be the state of parties when the House next 

Much will depend on the line now to be adopted ; and as 
I find I must give up going to Bath, and shall la^e that 
chance of seeing you, I should be very glad if you could, 
without inconvenience, meet me in town. I mean at pre- 
sent to stay over Thursday, and perhaps Friday, but that 
must depend a little upon wind and intelligence. The sooner 
therefore you can come the better. 

Ever yours sincerely, W. P. 


The friend to whom in this letter Pitt especially 
refers as desirous to see him was Lord Grenville, and 
Lord Grenville's object was to propose a concert of 
measures and an unity of action between themselves and 
Fox. This scheme of systematic opposition was, how- 
ever, steadily declined by Pitt. With some soreness on 
that ground, Lord Grenville wrote a few lines to his 
brother announcing the result. 

Lord Grenville to Lord Biic/cmy/tam. 

Grosvenor Square, Jan. 10, 1 J 804. 
I came here yesterday to meet the person to whom I 
wrote. I may be able to send you a detail by a safer oppor- 
tunity, but there is little worth talking of. The .same ideas 
prevail, and nearly the same course will be pursued. The 
most decided hatred and contempt of those who have done 
so much to provoke both, but views of middle lines, and 
managements, and delicacies oil Von se perd. G. 

Here is another entry of the same time from Wilber- 
force's Journal: — 'January 10, 1804. — After breakfast 
to see Pitt. Much political talk. Found him resolved 
not to hamper himself with engagements, or go into 
systematic opposition.' 

Lord Grenville, however, who very seldom receded 
from any ideas that he had once formed, determined to 
pursue the overtures which he had suggested. For 
these he had an excellent channel of communication in 
his brother Thomas Grenville, so long both the political 
and the personal friend of Fox. Soon afterwards he 
announced the result in a letter addressed to Walmer 

Lord Grenville to Mr. Pitt. 

South Audley Square, Jan. 31, 180-1. 
My ilcir Pitt, — You will remember that \ fully explained 
to you in our late conversations the decided opinion of those 
with whom 1 have acted for the last three years, that a de- 

1 Misprinled as the 30th in the Courts ami Cabinets of George 
UI. vol. iii. p. 342. 


dared and regular opposition to the present Government was 
now more than ever an indispensable public duty ; and I 
stated to you the line which I thought it was likely we 
should pursue, when they were apprised by me that your 
resolution was finally taken not to act on any such opinion, 
either in the extended and comprehensive plan which, in 
common with them, I had wished, or even on any more 
limited scale. I mentioned this to you at the time as my 
own conjecture merely, and liable of course to be altered by 
discussion with them ; but I found, in fact, that I had 
judged rightly of their opinion, which proved to be very 
little, if at all, different from that of which I had spoken to 

That personal affection which never can be altered by 
differences of political conduct, even if they were much 
greater than I flatter myself are at all likely to be found be- 
tween us, and a determination that every part of my line 
shall be both open and unequivocal, make me very desirous 
not to withhold from you the knowledge of the step which 
we have taken in consequence of the opinions I have stated. 
In this communication you will find nothing more than you 
will hear declared in Parliament whenever the occasion shall 
arise. But you will attribute this circumstance not to any 
reserve of mine, but to the simple fact that, meaning to do 
nothing but what we think just and honourable in itself, 
and incumbent upon us as the necessary result of the opinions 
we have long professed, we are determined that what we do 
shall be openly avowed, without mystery or concealment of 
any kind. 

What I have therefore to state to you is, that an oppor- 
tunity has been taken to explain to Mr. Fox, that we hold 
(and, as we believe, in common with him) two principles of 
action as indispensable to any reasonable hope of saving the 
country from its present dangers. First, that the Govern- 
ment which now exists is manifestly incapable of carrying on 
the public business in such a manner as the crisis requires, 
and that persons sincerely entertaining that opinion are 
bound to avow and actively pursue it ; and, secondly, that 
if, now or hereafter, there should arise any question of forcn- 
ing a new Government, the wishes and endeavours of all 
who mean well to the country should be directed to the es- 
tablishment of an administration comprehending as large a 


proportion as possible of the weight, talents, and character 
to be found in public men of all descriptions, and without 
any exception. To this was added our decided opinion that 
it was not necessary, for the purpose of acting on these two 
principles, to extend the communication to any other matters 
whatever, or to enter into details of any kind not relating to 
the Parliamentary business which may from time to time be 
brought forward ; and, above all, that anything leading to 
com promises of former opinions, or to engagements for future 
arrangements, was to be carefully avoided, in order that it 
might be at all times, and with the strictest truth, distinctly 

and publicly denied 

1 very much hope that you continue in the resolution of 
coming up, at all events, to the meeting of Parliament. 

Most affectionately yours, Grenville. 1 

This letter is, I observe, docketed in Pitt's hand as 
' Answered,' but I do not find any copy of that reply 
among his papers. It was, however, most distinctly in 
the negative. 

I may here notice that the junction between Fox and 
the Grrenvilles was not on either side called a ' Coali- 
tion.' They loved better to call it a l Cooperation.' 
And this for two reasons. In the first place, the very 
name of Coalition had grown hateful from the evil 
precedent of 1783. Secondly, the junction in this case, 
as Grenville's letter clearly explains it, was not an 
entire concert of measures, but only an agreement to 
act together under certain circumstances and up to a 
certain point. 

All this time the war of party pamphlets was still 
raging. The ' Near Observer ' had published two replies 
to the l More Accurate Observer.' There had been 
another pamphlet on Addington's side, which was also 
anonymous, but which was subsequently ascribed to 
Dr. Bisset. To Ibis last an answer was given by Mr. 
Robert Ward, without any announcement, but yet with- 
out any concealment, of his name. The last of these 

1 Compare Hiis letter with one from Fox to Grey, dated two 
days before, and printed in Fox's Correspondence. 


authors received the thanks of the statesman whom he 
had defended. 

Mr. Pitt to Mr. Robert Ward. 

Walmer Castle, Jan. 31, 1804. 
Deal- Sir, — I am impatient to thank you for your letter, 
though I am unable to return as full an answer as I wish on 
the subject of it, as by some accident the pamphlet has not 
been forwarded to me in town. I have now written for it. 
In the meantime, if I were to judge only from the specimen 
of some material passages which have been extracted in the 
newspapers, I should have very little doubt what my opinion 
will be of the rest of the work. Now, however, that I know 
who is the author, I can hardly want any other proof to 
satisfy me that my cause could not have been placed hi better 
hands, and that I shall have every reason to think myself 
highly indebted to the zeal and friendship which have 
prompted the undertaking. 

I am, with great regard, W. Pitt. 

On the 1st of February the House of Commons 
resumed its sittings, but Mr. Pitt delayed his return to 
town more than a fortnight longer. Lord Malmesbury, 
in his diary, says : ' I came to town with my family on 
the 8th of February. 1 I found the spirit of party very 
high, but Pitt still absent.' 

The noble diplomatist goes on to relate a new and 
afflicting incident of this period in public affairs : ' On 
the 12th or 13th the King (after having taken cold by 
remaining in wet clothes longer than should be) had 
symptoms of the gout. He could not attend on the 
Queen's birthday, though he appeared in the evening at 
an assembly at the Queen's House ; he was too lame 
to walk without a cane ; and his manner struck me as 
so unusual and incoherent, that I could not help re- 
marking it to Lord Pelham, who, the next day (for I 

1 The word is 'January ' in the published Diaries, vol. iv. p. 285; 
but this is plainly a slip of the pen either in the author or the 
editor, since the former proceeds to mention the debates in the 
House of Commons as in progress. There are some similar slips in 
the next page. 


went away early), told me that he had, in consequence 
of my remark, attended to it, and that it was too plain 
i he King was beginning to be unwell. Lord Pelham, 
who played that evening with the Queen, added that 
her anxiety was manifest, since she never kept her eyes 
off the King during the whole time the party lasted.' 

The King was at first attended only by his house- 
hold physician. He had conceived a strong dislike to 
the Doctors Willis, from the tieatment which they had 
found requisite in his malady three years before — a 
feeling very frequent with persons in that afflicted con- 
dition. At his own urgent request, as his illness in- 
creased, another physician, Dr. Symonds, was called in. 
For two days His Majesty's life was in danger, and for 
at least a week the derangement of his mind was com- 
plete. By degrees he began to rally, but more slowly 
and with a greater tendency to relapse than either in 
1789 or 1801. 

It must be felt by critics now, as it was by politicians 
then, that this most unhappy illness of the King, at the 
very time when a foreign invasion was impending, 
tended not only to aggravate the dangers of the country, 
but to complicate, in a singular degree, the duties of 
its public men. 

We may trace the crisis of alarm in Mr. Abbot's 
Diary : ' February 16, 180-1. Called on Mr. Addington, 
but did not see him. The Cabinet were sitting, and 
the physicians going in and out of the room. Mr. 
Addington was with the Prince of Wales at eleven. 
The Bulletin of this morning was, "No material altera- 
tion has taken place since yesterday." ' 

It was probably on the same day that Mr. Pitt re- 
turned to London. Ere long he had a most confidential 
conversation with Lord Malmesbury, which the latter 
lias detailed. 

' Sunday, February 19, 1804. — I called on Pitt, and 
met him as I was coming from his door, and returned 
with him. I said it was my wish to see him at this 


moment, and to hear from him his sentiments and in- 
tentions in the present very critical situation of affairs. 

' He, without hesitation, entered into a very full 
and unreserved detail of both. He began by stating that 
the two very important events now pending, namely, the 
probability of a very formidable invasion, and the 
dangerous state of the King's health, placed the country 
in a state of difficulty and danger dissimilar to any 
former one, and required from all those who were called 
on to act in public a very different mode of reasoning 
and acting than at any past period. To these points a 
third might be added, namely, the state of parties ; and 
although these three considerations were in themselves 
separate and distinct, yet they bore very sensibly on 
each other, and, taken collectively, made the actual 
position of the country a very serious and alarming one. 
That he had given each of them due and serious atten- 
tion, had weighed them in his mind maturely and 
leisurely, in order that he might determine safely and 
calmly on such a line of conduct as became him, and 
which he might never be sorry for ; and that after the 
most diligent thought and reflection, he could see none 
better nor more conformable to his notions of what was 
right than to persevere in that which he had pursued 
for some time past. 

' That, therefore, he would never make the turning 
out this administration the object of his endeavours ; 
that though some of his best friends had united themselves 
avowedly for that purpose with Fox, yet he had rejected 
and would uniformly reject any overture which might 
be made to him to become a party to such a system. 

' That in all simple and plain questions it was his 
resolution to support Government ; but when Govern- 
ment omitted anything he thought the state of the 
country required to be done, or did it weakly and in- 
efficiently, he then should deliver his sentiments clearly 
and distinctly, but not even then in a spirit of opposi- 
tion, since he would never do it till he had ascertained 


Government would persist in what he condemned, and 
not adopt what he thought essentially necessary. 

' That towards office he would take no other step 
than such as might arise out of this conduct ; and that 
he said this not from any foolish affectation of slighting 
the value of power and office, or even from a disinclina- 
tion to resume it, but because he thought it conscien- 
tiously right, and should blame himself if he acted 

' But if, said he, from being out-debated (which they 
will be), or out-voted (which they will not be), Ministers 
should get frightened, and want to resign — or if, from 
a much greater improbability, they should, from the 
pressure of the times, get conscious and convinced of 
their own inadequacy to administer the government 
of the country, and were led to give up their places, in 
either of these cases he should look upon it as right and 
a duty to contribute towards forming a new administra- 
tion by any means in his power ; and added he (stating 
a third case), this duty would be a paramount one, and 
superior to anything with him, namely, if the King 
should ever, from having either of the above-mentioned 
feelings, call upon him for his services. 

' I never interrupted him during this discourse. 
When he had finished, I thanked him most sincerely for 
the confidential way in which he had spoken ; that it 
gave me infinite pleasure, because it concurred most 
entirely with my own sentiments and principles ; and 
that in now reassuring him of my adherence to him, I 
had no other motive than doing what I considered as 
essentially right. He expressed great satisfaction at 
] laving my concurrence. He said, " I should advertise 
you it has not that of my eager and ardent young 
friends, whom I know to be also yours (Canning and 
(jr. Leveson) ; but we are on the best of terms." 

' To this I assented, and asked whether they would 
abide by him or join the Grenvilles ; adding, I had not 
seen Canning for several months. He said he did not 


exactly foresee how that would end ; that he knew they 
had communication with the Grenvilles ; and that he 
himself had been assailed in prose and verse by them ; 
and that Canning, finding this fail, half staggered by 
his friendship for him and half disapproving all he did, 
knew no longer what to say, but had gone down to 
Mrs. Canning, where he now was. 

' On the King's health he said he knew no parti- 
culars ; but that if it was not soon restored, a Eegency 
must be appointed ; and he could not conceive that it 
would be different from the last projected Kegency Bill 
in 1789. 

' On my observing that the Prince of Wales had 
asserted that the King's illness must last several months, 
Pitt said, — 


Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought.' 

It was impossible that the King's real state should 
remain a secret from the country. Within a few days 
it came to be commonly known. 

On Sunday, the 26th, two documents were published 
by authority. The one a prayer composed by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and offering thanks to God ' for 
the hope and prospect of His Majesty's speedy recovery.' 
The other a bulletin issued by the physicians, and 
announcing that ' His Majesty is going on favourably, 
though any rapid amendment is not to be expected.' 
It could not fail to be noticed that these two documents 
contradicted each other. 

Next day, the 27th, the physicians were again ex- 
amined by the Cabinet. They declared that the King 
was perfectly competent to do any act of government, 
but that it would be prudent for some time to spare him 
all unnecessary exertion of mind. It is certain, indeed, 
that although the King's mind might be restored to 
soundness, it continued, during several weeks, to be 
highly nervous and excitable. 

On this same evening (Monday the 27th) this delicate 


question was stirred in the Commons. Sir Eobert 
Lawley moved an adjournment of the House, consider- 
ing the notoriety of the Kino's illness, and pending a 
communication from the Ministers. Mr. Addington 
declared that his sense of duty led him to abstain from 
an} 7 communication at this time. Mr. Fox, with his 
usual eloquence, inveighed against the Minister's re- 
serve. Then rose Mr. Pitt, who, in his speech — it was 
his first since the Recess — laid down what appears to be 
the true constitutional doctrine on the question. 

' I confess that whatever opinion I may entertain 
upon the whole of that critical and anxious situation 
in which the country is now placed, and a more critical 
and anxious one never existed in the history of this 
country, I cannot think that the motion for an adjourn- 
ment is one which, in any possible view of the subject, 
can be either expedient or proper. I certainly do feel 
that if, unfortunately the moment should come, which 
I most earnestly hope will never be the case, when 
Parliament shall be obliged to take cognizance of a 
suspension in the exercise of the Royal functions, from 
that moment I think, on the constitutional ground 
stated by the Hon. gentleman opposite to me (Mr. Fox), 
that Parliament should be precluded from doing any 
act except that of taking the necessary measures for 
supplying the deficiency in the executive branch of the 
Constitution. This is an opinion I have always enter- 
tained, and this is the conduct which was adopted by 
Parliament on a former occasion ; and although, at the 
period to which I allude, there was a very considerable 
difference of opinion as to the particular mode which 
ought to be adopted, yet I believe the general principle 
which had been laid down was universally approved of. 
But I certainly do not think that a mere general ap- 
prehension and impression, however well founded they 
may appear to be, that the personal exercise of the 
Royal authority has been suspended, would justify 
Parliament in suspending all its other functions, unless 



that fact was communicated to them in a way that 
would render it necessary for them to take notice of 
it. If, however, the regular reports of the physicians 
appointed to attend His Majesty should induce gentle- 
men to think that it is the duty of Ministers, under all 
the circumstances of the case, to take immediate steps 
for making a communication to Parliament upon the 
subject, it is not only proper, but it is the duty of those 
Members who entertain that opinion, to inquire of 
Ministers why they have not made such communication 
to Parliament ? I confess I feel that it is a most diffi- 
cult and arduous responsibility for Ministers to deter- 
mine how long the communication ought to be delayed, 

and at what moment it ought to be made 

I do, therefore, hope that Ministers will not, both for 
the sake of the Sovereign and of the country, push any 
feelings of delicacy, and sentiments of reverence and 
affection which they, in common with every loyal man 
in the country, must feel — I hope, I say, they will not 
push those sentiments to the extent of endangering that 
which has always been the dearest object of His Majesty's 
care, namely, the safety of those subjects whose happi- 
ness it has been the study of his life to promote.' 

After Pitt the debate proceeded. Windham and 
Canning, Grey and Grrenville took part in it. But 
finally the motion of Sir Robert Lawley was negatived 
without a division. The House then passed to the 
Second Reading of the Volunteer Consolidation Bill, — 
a measure introduced by Mr. Secretary Yorke, with the 
view of brinoino- into one the divers Acts which referred 
to the Yeomanry and Volunteer Corps. Yorke endea- 
voured to confine the discussion to this single object. 
On the other hand, Windham and Grrenville were 
determined that the discussion should have a wider 
range ; and such was also Pitt's resolve. He began his 
speech as follows : ' Sir, from the opinion of the Right 
Hon. Secretary that this discussion should be confined 
within narrow limits, and should apply solely to the 


measure immediately before the House, I decidedly 
differ; and with the sentiments of my Right Hon. 
Friend on the lower Bench (Mr. Thomas Grenville), 
that we are now called upon to take into view every 
thing connected with the national defence, I entirely 
concur.' ' Pitt then proceeded to explain at length the 
system which he deemed desirable, and the practical 
suggestions which had occurred to his mind. 

These discussions on the Volunteer system continued 
during several days. It was observed in the course of 
them that the Prime Minister had become greatly chafed. 

On the 10th of March we find Mr. Wilberforce write 
as follows to his friend Lord Muncaster : — < I really 
feel for Addington, who is a better man than most of 
them, though not well fitted for the warfare at St. 
Stephen's. He has exhibited — you, I think, would also 
interpret it this way — marks of soreness by losing his 
temper readily, once indeed without the smallest reason. 
Pitt on that occasion behaved nobly. Instead of re- 
torting angrily, as I own I feared, or even showing any 
contemptuous coolness, he scarcely seemed conscious of 
Addington's having exposed himself, and answered with 
perfect good humour.' 

Thus had Pitt frankly and freely pointed out the 
errors of the Government in the Military system. But 
the errors in the Naval had grown to be greater still ; 
and these Pitt felt it equally his duty to denounce, and, 
if he could, correct. On the 15th of March, according 
to a previous notice, he brought forward a motion on 
the state of the Navy. It was only a motion for papers, 
but he acknowledged in his speech that he designed it 
as a censure upon Lord St. Vincent. A long and able 
debate ensued. Tierney, as Treasurer of the Navy, rose 
next, and sought to vindicate his chief. As regarded 
Pitt, he also indulged in a strain of great asperity. 

1 In the Pari. Dchatex, vol. i. New Series, p. 542, flic latter allusion 
is explained as to Mr. Windham. But that gentleman had not yet 
spoken : he rose to follow Pitt. 


Sheridan in like manner resisted the motion, and 
attacked the mover in a speech, as Fox presently con- 
fessed, of the utmost brilliancy and eloquence. Alding- 
ton himself spoke later in the night. But in spite of 
Sheridan's eloquence, and looking only to the facts 
alleged, Wilberforce might write in his journal :' Never 
was made a more wretched defence. I was moved,' he 
adds, ' by Tierney's low attack. I answered him quite 
without premeditation, and, as I was told, extremely 

Fox also stood forth against Tierney and Sheridan. 
He did so with some difficulty, since he was, as he 
avowed, a personal friend and ally of Lord St. Vincent. 
But he declared that this was his very reason for agree- 
ing to the motion. Any inquiry would lie for the 
advantage of the noble and gallant Earl. It would 
vindicate his character in the fullest manner ; it would 
prove him in every respect a perfect contrast to all his 
Cabinet colleagues in merit and renown. 

This debate— enlivened also by some professional 
spaning between the Naval officers in the House — con- 
tinued till a late hour in the morning. Then Pitt rose 
to reply. Late as was the hour, he delivered a long and 
animated speech. At its close he severely lashed his 
first opponent, Tierney. 

' This new convert to the Treasury,' continued Mr. 
Pitt, ' says that Lord St. Vincent is not so much 
alarmed, so panic-stricken as I am. I should be glad 
to know if this be the language of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer. If it be, what has the country to expect 
from his vigilance and energy ? The Army, although 
not so powerful as I could have wished, yet has made 
the most noble display of patriotism. The new military 
system, that of the Volunteers, owes not its origin to 
the present Ministers. It was a favourite system of the 
last Ministers. The present men in power have fre- 
quently adopted, but seldom projected, any measure 
whatever. With all my re.^pect, nay affection for the 
vol. in. o 


new Military system, our Naval defence is that on 
which we should chiefly rest our hopes. Our Navy is 
the grand and proud bulwark of our fame — that Navy 
which has extended our commerce, our dominion, and 
I tower to the most remote parts of the world — that 
Navy which has explored new soiuces of wealth, which 
has discovered new objects of glory. Let us, therefore, 
augment, rather than diminish, the pride of the nation, 
and let us not be referred back to dry periods of history, 
when all comparisons are absurd and unavailing. Let 
us watch with the greatest jealousy and circumspection 
the rise and progress of the new marine of France, so 
dangerous to the interest and glory of this country. Let 
us watch France more actively than in former times, 
because she has attained new and extraordinary energies. 
Her present exertions are unprecedented in history. 
We ought to meet them with at least equal, not inferior, 
activity and energies.' The scanty report of this night's 
proceedings here states that ' after a variety of argu- 
ments, Mr. Pitt noticed the conduct of Mr. Sheridan 
in substance nearly as follows : ' — ' Among the many 
assaults which I have had to repel this evening, was one 
from a very brilliant flash of lightning, a meteor which 
for some time has moved neither on the one side nor on 
the other ; a meteor whose absence all may with me 
have regretted ; a meteor which, on its return, con- 
centrating its force, has fixed its rays of resentment 
and indignation against me — but in whose blazing face 
I can look without fear or dread. No insinuations, 
however bitter or bold, will ever induce me to surrender 
my freedom in this House. I am fully determined not 
to renounce my privileges as a member of Parliament. 
I admire the uncommon valour, I extol the vast renown, 
the glorious achievements of Lord St. Vincent. To him 
we are highly indebted for shedding extraordinary 
lustre on our national glory. I did believe that when 
his Lordship took upon himself the direction of our 
Naval affairs, the public service would derive great 

1804 THE DIVISION. 195 

benefit from his patriotic exertions and professional 
skill. I did believe that his name, in whatever Naval 
capacity, was a tower of strength ; but I am apt to 
think that between his Lordship as a commander on the 
sea, and his Lordship as First Lord of the Admiralty, 
there is a very wide difference.' 

The full sting of this reply is not perhaps apparent 
on perusal. We must remember that the countenance 
of Mr. Sheridan bore marks of his deep potations, and 
had grown to be in its colour almost crimson ; while it 
was still lighted up by eyes of extraordinary brilliancy 
and power. With this hint we may the better ap- 
preciate the happy similitude of the meteor and its 
' blazing face.' 

After this reply, and a few more words from Sir 
William Pulteney, the House divided, when the num- 
bers were, — 

For Mr. Pitt's motion .... 130 
Against it 201 

Majority 71 

Writing a week or two later, Wilberforce observes 
that he found many persons condemn Pitt's motion on 
the Navy as factious ; but he declares his own full con- 
viction that it has done good : — ' The Admiralty, I am 
glad to hear, are exerting themselves with double, I 
should rather say, tenfold, activity.' 

On the 19th the Volunteer Consolidation Bill was 
brought up on Report. Fox moved that the Bill should 
be recommitted. In a vehement speech he condemned 
the many shortcomings of the Government. ' But,' he 
said in conclusion, 'I do not tremble so much, because 
I do believe that even all these things cannot destroy 
the spirit of the country. It will, I am sure, not only 
rise superior to every effort of the enemy, but I am 
sanguine enough to believe — and I cannot reach a 
higher climax — that it will rise superior to the weak- 

o 2 


ness, the incapacity, and the imbecility of the present 
Ministers!' Fox was supported by his new allies — 
Windham and Thomas Grenville ; but his motion for 
the recommitment was opposed by Pitt, and on a divi- 
sion rejected by 173 votes against only 56. 

Next day, the 20th, the Chancellor, Lord Eldon, 
being in the strongest manner impressed with the ag- 
gravation to the public dangers produced by the King's 
state of mind, sought an interview with Mr. Pitt. He 
sent him a note through his eldest son, who was at 
that time member for Boroughbridge. Pitt replied as 
follows : — 

York Place, Tuesday night, March 20, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — Mr. Scott was so good as to give me 
your note this evening in the House of Commons. I am 
very glad to accept your invitation for Saturday, as, what- 
ever may be the result of our conversation, I think the 
sooner we hold it the better. The state of public affairs 
makes it impossible that the public suspense can last very 
long, and nothing can give me more satisfaction than to 
put you confidentially in possession of all the sentiments and 
opinions by which my conduct will be regulated. 

Yours very sincerely, W. Pitt. 

Pitt went accordingly, and dined tete-a-tete with the 
Chancellor. What passed is nowhere to be found re- 
corded. Later in the year Addington mentioned the 
transaction to his friend the Speaker. He did not deny 
that the Chancellor had stated the interview to him, 
but complained that this communication had not been 
made until a month afterwards. 1 

In the course of this month the Pitt family lost its 
head. The second Lord Camelford, who had succeeded 
his father in 17 ( J3, was a young man of generous feel- 
ings, but strong passions and eccentric views. Once, to 
bring the nomination system into contempt, he had 
threatened that he would cause his negro footman to 
be elected for one of his boroughs. Engaging in a duel 

1 Lianas of Lord Colchester, Oct. 29, 1804. 


— in which he was, as he owned, the aggressor — he was 
mortally wounded, and lingered only a few days. His 
title became extinct, and his large estates in Cornwall 
devolved upon his only sister, Lady Grenville. 

On the 20th of March died also one of Pitt's earliest 
and dearest friends — Richard Pepper Arden, now Lord 
Alvanley, and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. ' 1 
was overcome with the event to tears,' writes Wilber- 
force, another early friend. ' In the evening Pitt showed 
me a few lines Arden had written to take leave of him 
the night before his death, recommending his son, Pitt's 
godson, to Pitt's protection. 

The decease of the Lord Chief Justice gave Ad- 
dington an opening, of which he immediately availed 
himself, to offer Erskine the post of Attorney-General. 
Erskine was very well inclined to accept it. For the 
last two years at least he had been edging away from his 
former chief at St. Ann's. Of late moreover the estrange- 
ment had widened. Erskine had combined with Sheridan 
to draw up and transmit to Fox, through the Duke of 
Norfolk, a remonstrance signed by themselves and others, 
and levelled at his recent junction with the Grenvilles. 
But Erskine was not quite a free agent. So early as 1784 
he had been appointed Attorney-General to the Prince 
of Wales, and on receiving Addington's proposal of the 
higher post, deemed it necessary, through Sheridan, to 
consult His Royal Highness. 

In the past year His Royal Highness had been by no 
means very averse to Addington ; but he had fixed his 
heart on a high military post and rank, and when this 
was refused by the King-, he had extended his resent- 
ment to the Minister. Under these circumstances he 
returned to Erskine, also through Sheridan as the chan- 
nel, not indeed a negative, but a very discouraging- 
reply. ' Erskine was determined at all events not to 
lose the Prince's favour, and thus impelled he said No 
to Addington. 

1 Moore's Life of Sheridan, vol. ii. p. 323. 


Exactly similar was the case of Sheridan himself. It 
is certain, says Thomas Moore as his biographer, that 
a proposal of office was made to him at this time ; 
but Sheridan was even much more an intimate of 
Carlton House than Erskine, and as soon as he ascer- 
tained the Prince's bias, there could be no doubt of his 

When Sheridan thus laid aside all hopes from a new 
chief, he reverted as speedily as possible to the allegi- 
ance of his old one. It is amusing to find Fox write 
to G rey as follows, the date of this letter being St. 
Ann's, April 6, 1804 : — ' Sheridan has been here, and I 
judge is very desirous of getting right again, but you 
will easily believe my dependence on him is not very 

Fox himself was now in thorough opposition. His 
language about Adclington, in his familiar letters, had 
grown to be most bitter and most hostile. Thus he 
writes to Grey : — ' Let us first get rid of the Doctor ! — 
is my first principle of action, in which I reckon you as 
concurring with me as much as any one.' And again, 
to Lord Lauderdale : — ' The Doctor has exceeded, if 
possible, all his former lies in what he said about the 
Russian business. It is, I own, an ignoble chase ; but I 
should have great pleasure in hunting down this vile 
fellow.' ' Mr. Fox did not then foresee Unit within two 
years of that date this 'vile fellow' would become his 
own colleague in the Cabinet. 

At nearly the same period, the Earl of Moira, who 
was residing at Edinburgh as Commander of the Forces 
in Scotland, and who then stood foremost in the favour 
of tbe Prince of Wales, had a long and interesting con- 
versation on the state of public affairs with the Lord 
Advocate, Mr. Charles Hope. Hereupon the Lord Ad- 
vocate addressed the following letter, marked 'Confi- 
dential,' to his friend and kinsman, Henry Dundas, 
Lord Melville : — 

1 1/ i oi \;.ril 13 and March 25, isoi. 


Edinburgh, March 22, 1804. 

.My clear Lord, — Lord Moira returned yesterday, and I 
had a card from him early this morning ; in consequence of 
which I waited upon him this forenoon, and had a very long 
and unreserved conversation with him, the particulars of 
which, till he could have a personal interview with you, he 
desired me to communicate. 

First, as to the King. He assured me that he is still 
far from well in point of mind, occasionally collected, but 
for the much greater part of the day very incoherent, and at 
times still very violent ; so much so, that within this week, 
on their not letting the Duke of York see him, according to 
promise, he was so outrageous that they were obliged to put 
him to bed, and strap him down. He is very anxious to see 
the Duke, but the physicians are against it. He at first re- 
fused to see the Chancellor, unless they would allow him to 
see the Duke also. They agreed, but after his interview with 
the Chancellor, he was so agitated that they would not let 
him see the Duke. 

They pacified him then, and fixed on last Thursday for an 
interview between them ; but when Thursday came they 
broke faith with him, which occasioned the return of mania 
which I have mentioned. 

In short, he is in that state that he cannot bear any- 
thing to agitate or contradict him, and therefore, although 
at times collected, remains substantially unfit for business. 
He says that Ministers, or rather Mr. Addington, are fol- 
lowing a most extraordinary game ; that they will not make 
a Regency, but that their intention is at present to get the 
King down to Kew as soon as possible (for which purpose 
they are finishing and furnishing the new palace as fast as 
possible), and when there, to get him to sign a Council of 
Regency, proceeding on the narrative that the fatigue of 
business is too much for his health at present, and therefore 
that he devolves the ordinary administration of government 
on this Council, with instructions to refer to him only on ex- 
traordinary occasions. The Prince to be a member of this 
Council, which, in other respects, is of course to be composed 
of Mr. Addington and his friends. The Prince, however, 
has resolved not to have anything to do with such a Council, 
and Lord Moira added that he does not believe that it 
is agreeable to the Queen. He says that the discontent in 


London is prodigious ; the very people who are voting with 
Mr. Addington make no secret that they do it only because, 
in the present state of things, they know not what else to 

Now as to the Prince. Lord Moira told me that His 
Royal Highness had very early sent a message to Mr. Fox 
and Mr. Grey, that he was very sensible of their attachment, 
but that in the event of his government, either as King or 
Regent, as he intended to throw himself entirely into Lord 
Moira's hands, he did not think it right, in his absence, to 
see either of them, that Lord Moira might not suppose that 
be had formed any opinion, or even taken up any impression 
without consulting him. That the Prince had accordingly 
thrown himself upon Mm for advice, which Lord Moira 
gave him, as nearly as I can recollect, to the following pur- 
pose : — 

' That your Royal Highness must see, in common with 
the whole country, that the present Ministry are utterly in- 
capable of governing the country, or even of perceiving, to 
its full extent, the critical situation in which it is placed ; 
that nothing can save the country but the union of all the 
talent in it, so as to ensure not only vigour in our counsels, 
but perfect confidence and unanimity in the people, and an 
effectual and decisive co-operation on the part of some of the 
great continental powers. 

' Before, therefore, I can go further, or can judge whether 
I can be of use to your Royal Highness, have you the mag- 
nanimity and good sense to lay aside any feeling of estrange- 
ment, light or wrong, which you may entertain against the 
late Ministers, and to stretch forth your hand to Mr. Pitt 
and Lord Melville, and call on them to assist you in the 
government of the country in these anxious times 1 ' He 
said, the Prince wanted at first to parry the question, by 
saying that Mr. Pitt would not act under Lord Moira, and 
that no other man should be his Minister ; but Lord Moira 
answered, ' First let me know your Royal Highness's feel- 
ings, without which it is unnecessary to talk of Mr. Pitt's.' 
The Prince still parried him by Baying that Mr. Pitt and 
Mr. Fox would not act together. Rut Lord Moira still in- 
sisting for an answer, the Prince asked him, ' Do you really 
think this necessary for the good of the country, and for the 
honour of my government 1 ' Lord Moira answered him 


that he did ; that he considered Mr. Pitt's co-operation as 
essential ; and that the Prince's only chance for governing 
the country without Mr. Pitt, with any degree of comfort, 
\\ as at least to satisfy the public that the refusal came from 
Mr. Pitt, and not from His Royal Highness. ' Then,' said 
the Prince, ' I submit myself entirely to your opinion ; ' but 
added that he, Lord Moira, must still be his Minister, and 
that he was sure Mr. Pitt would never act in a subordinate 
situation. Lord Moira answered, ' Whatever situation your 
Poyal Highness may intend for me, Mr. Pitt shall not feel 
himself subordinate ; he never can be subordinate in any 
Cabinet ; and on the footing of the broad union which I 
propose, I shall consider my business in the Cabinet to be 
to moderate between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox. 

1 Well, then,' said the Prince, ' bring this about ; but I 
still doubt that the materials will be too discordant.' Lord 
Moira replied that the pressure of the moment would, he 
was sure, make them go on cordially as long as the necessity 
lasted ; after that they might quarrel, as other administra- 
tions had done, without much harm to the country. Thus 
the conversation with the Prince ended ; and Lord Moira 
says that he left him perfectly made up to the resolution 
of endeavouring to form the broadest administration pos- 
sible, without reference to former prejudices or parties. He 
told me that he had not any channel in London, that he was 
quite satisfied with, through which he could sound Mr. Pitt 
on the subject ; and I take it for granted, by his expressly 
saying that I was at liberty to communicate this to you, that 
he trusts to you to do so. But I think you ought not to do 
it on this letter alone, as you will so soon have an oppor- 
tunity of hearing more accurately, from his own mouth, 
those particulars which I have strictly endeavoured to detail. 
On other points, he says that a war with Spain is now un- 
avoidable, and on the expectation and belief that the Spanish 
fleet is immediately coming out to join that of France that 
an expedition, on a great scale, is preparing against some of 
the Spanish settlements. He adds that the Prince and the 
Luke, he trusts, will soon be cordial. 

I will not mix my own reflections with the above detail, 
especially as I hope it will induce you not to postpone 
your return here longer than is absolutely necessary. 

Ever, my dear Lord, yours faithfully, C. Hope. 


Lord Melville being- then, it seems, further north — 
namely, at Duuira in Perthshire — communicated by 
letter to Mr. Pitt the information which he had thus 
received from the Lord Advocate. In reply to his 
letter, Mr. Pitt wrote the following masterly view of 
the chief political considerations at that time : — 

York Place, March 29, 1804. 

Dear Lord Melville, — Before I received your letter I had 
determined to write to you full} on my view of the present 
state of affairs previous to my leaving town, which I shall 
do to-morrow. I will now begin with Lord Moira's letter. 
I cannot help thinking that his information respecting the 
King's health has been by no means correct, though I have 
no doubt he believes it to be so. All the accounts which 
have reached Carlton House, or at least {between ourselves) 
which have come from thence, have uniformly represented 
the King's state as worse than it in truth has been, and can- 
not be reasoned upon without great allowance. I do not 
however mean to say that I consider a speedy and complete 
recovery as by any means certain ; and I am afraid, although 
things looked more favourably than Lord Moira supposes 
at the dates he refers to, that within these few days the pro- 
gress has l>een materially interrupted. Under these cir- 
cumstances it is undoubtedly still possible that a Regency 
(for a shorter or longer time) may become inevitable ; and 
though I entertain a very strong hope that it will not hap- 
pen, it is right for public men to be prepared for such an 

With respect to the Prince's intentions I must also say 
to you confidentially that I fear no very certain dependence 
is to be placed on any language which lie holds. The con- 
versation winch Lord Moira reports to have passed with 
himself is certainly at variance with the assurances which I 
have good reason to believe the Prince has held out to other 
quarters. He has certainly seen both Fox and Grey. The 
former, I have good reason to believe, understands that in 
the event of the Prince having the Government in his 
hands, it is by his (Fox's) advice that he would be guided ; 
and I believe too that his advice is likely to be to apply to 
me with a view of forming a strong and comprehensive 


Having said thus much to explain to you why I am not 
disposed to rely too much on any professions till the mo- 
ment for actual decision arrives, 1 have no hesitation in 
stating that I quite agree with you in thinking that nothing 
could be so creditable for the Prince, or so useful to the 
public, as his really and sincerely acting on the idea of form- 
ing such a Government as I have stated. But with respect 
to the possibility of carrying it into effect, as far as I am 
concerned, you will not, I think, wonder at my saying that 
I do not see how, under any circumstances, I can creditably 
or usefully consent to take part in any Government without 
1 iting at the head of it ; and I should be very sorry that 
either Lord Moira, or, through him, the Prince, should sup- 
pose that there is any chance of my changing my opinion 
on this point. 

There is another point of more delicacy and difficulty on 
which I can scarce form my decision beforehand, because it 
must depend so much on the precise circumstances of the 
moment. Much as I wish a strong Government, and pre- 
pared as I am for that purpose to put aside the recollection 
of former differences, if a cordial union can be formed on 
public grounds for the future, I still should feel a great 
doubt whether it would be right during the King's illness, 
and while any reasonable chance exists of his recovery, to 
form any connexion which might preclude him from a fair 
option in forming an administration, whenever he might 
resume the exercise of his authority. This doubt rests, as 
you will perceive, entirely on the feeling of what is due to 
the King ; and strong as that motive is, I am nevertheless 
aware that there may be cases in which considerations of 
public safety will perhaps not allow of its being yielded to 
beyond a certain point. From what I have now said you 
will see exactly the state of my mind on the whole of this 
subject, and will be enabled, in conversing with Lord Moira, 
to give him your opinion (so far as you may think it right to 
do so) of what would be my probable line of conduct. 

1 wish now to call your attention to the other (and I 
hope the more probable) alternative of the King's speedy 
recovery. In that event I am strongly confirmed in the 
opinion that the present Government cannot last for any 
length of time, and still more so in the full conviction that 
every week for which its existence may be protracted will be 


attended with increased danger to the country. I have 
therefore satisfied myself that the time is near at hand at 
which, if a change does not originate from the Ministers 
themselves or from the King, I can no longer be justified in 
not publicly declaring my opinion, and endeavouring by 
Parliamentary measures to give it effect. My present notion 
therefore is to take the first moment after the present Re- 
cess, at which the state of the King's health will admit of 
such a step, to write a letter to His Majesty stating to him 
the grounds of my opinion, explaining the dangers which I 
think threaten his Crown and his people from the con- 
t of his present Government, and representing to him 
the urgent necessity of a speedy change. From what I 
have already said in a former part of this letter, you will 
not be surprised at my saying that the change to which I 
should jDoint as most beneficial would be one which would 
introduce precisely the same description of Government as I 
think desirable in the other event of a Regency. From 
various considerations, however, and still more from this 
last illness, I feel that a proposal to take into a share in his 
councils persons against whom he has long entertained such 
strong and natural objections ought never to be made to 
him, but in such a manner as to leave him a free option, and 
to convince him that if he cannot be sincerely convinced of 
its expediency, there is not a wish to force it upon him. I 
should therefore, at the same time, let His Majesty under- 
stand distinctly, that if, after considering the subject, he re- 
solved to exclude the friends both of Mr. Fox and Lord 
Grenville, but wished to call upon me to form a Govern- 
ment without them, I should be ready to do so, as well as 
I could, from among my own immediate friends, united 
with the most capable and unexceptionable persons of the 
present Government; but of course excluding many of 
them, and above all, Addington himself, and Lord St. 

From what we both know of the King's character-, I am 
persuaded this manner of bringing the subject before hiin 
is more likely than any other to bring him to consider fairly 
the advantages which I am sure he personally would derive 
for the remainder of his reign in an equal degree with the 
country from the extinction of parties, and the establish- 
ment of a Government uniting all the weight and talents of 


the day, and capable of commanding respect and confidence 
both at home and abroad. 

"Whatever might be the success of this measure, with a 
view either to the more extended or narrower plan of 
Government, I should have acquitted myself of my duty to 
the King ; and if it produces no effect, I should then have 
no hesitation in taking such ground in Parliament as would 
be most likely to attain the object. You will have seen by 
the division on my Naval motion, that a good deal has been 
already clone to shake the Government, and I have no doubt 
that on any strong question respecting the Public Defence, 
we should be able after Easter to produce much greater 
numbers. Fox is taking steps to muster all his friends, of 
whom not more than five and-twenty voted on that occa- 
sion. On any future trial of strength, I have no doubt of 
their being between sixty and seventy, and he is certainly 
prepared to support a question of the nature I have stated, 
under the full knowledge that if the result produces the re- 
moval of the present Government, I hold myself at full 
liberty to form a new one without reference to him. Of my 
own friends many were also absent on the former vote, 
whose attendance may be easily ensured for the next. If in 
addition to this, we procure, as I think probable, some con- 
siderable strength from Ireland, and if upon what I have 
stated you think it possible to collect a large proportion of 
our friends from your part of the world, I entertain very 
little doubt that the success of our effort would be nearly 
certain. I am aware that with the important local duties, 
which belong at this time to persons of weight and property 
in Scotland, it is more difficult than usual to bring them 
from their homes. But I think their attendance would not 
be required here for more than ten days, or at most a fort- 
night, as the fate of two or three motions must be decisive 
one way or other ; and a short absence for such a purpose 
would pei-haps be the most effectual way of consulting 
the security both of Scotland and every other part of the 

You will be the best judge what is the earliest day on 
which any attendance from Scotland could be reckoned upon. 
It would be very desirable that it should not be later than 
the 18th, or at farthest the 20th of next month. 

I shall naturally be very desirous of hearing your senti- 


merits on the whole of this subject ; and though the con- 
tents of this letter are of course of the most secret nature, 
there is no part of it which I should not be very glad that 
you should show in confidence to the Duke of Buccleuch and 
the Lord Advocate. 

Ever sincerely and affectionately yours, W. Pitt. 

Mr. Pitt, as he announces in his letter to Lord 
M.lville, left town next day, that is on the 30th of 
March, for Walmer Castle. There in a short time his 
correspondence was resumed. But for the most part it 
was not carried on by the post. ' I shall continue ' — 
so says Lord Melville in his letter to Pitt of the 3rd — 
' I shall continue to address you through Alexander 
Hope's conveyance, as I remember our friend Bathurst 
very strongly hinted to me last year to beware of the 
Post Office, when you and I had occasion to correspond 
on critical points or in critical times.' 

Mr. Pin to Lord Melville 

Walmer Castle, April 11, 1804. 

Dear Lord Melville, — I have received your letters of the 
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th, and am much obliged to you for 
the ample and satisfactory communication they contain. I 
was very happy to leam from the first of them that you 
concur so completely in the line of conduct which I stated 
to you. 

I perfectly agree in the sentiments you express in your 
letter of the 3rd, respecting the propriety of a full explana- 
tion of future intentions to Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox, in 
the event of being obliged to form a narrow Government ; 
and enough has been said already (to one directly, and 
through pretty certain channels to the other) to prepare them 
for receiving it. 

The letters of the 4th and 5th relate to the probable 
accession of strength from Scotch Members. I have desired 
William Dundas to take the steps you recommend respecting 
General Mackenzie and Sir James Montgomery, and I moan 
to write to-day to Lord Dalkeith. From the account you 
give of Sir James Grant's situation, I cannot by any mc;ms 


bring myself to wish that his son should incur the risk of 
giving lis a vote which, in the event (improbable as it is) of 
the Government standing its ground, might lead to such 
serious consequences to his family. 

In another letter of the 4th, you express a curiosity to 
know which of the present Ministers I had looked to as 
feeling the insufficiency of the present Government, and 
wishing my return to office. The Duke of Portland was 
certainly one of the foremost in my contemplation. Senti- 
ments on his part, similar to those conveyed in his letter to 
you, have reached me from several authentic channels : and 
I really believe that he has been induced to remain so long 
in his situation only from personal regard to the King, and 
the hope of being better enabled to watch the moment of 
disposing his mind to a change. In addition to this I have 
had strong grounds to believe that the same sentiment has 
been strongly felt by the Chancellor, my brother, Lord 
Castlereagh, Yorke, and Lord Hobart ; I believe too by 
Lord Hawkesbury, but of him I have not heard it so 
pointedly. Of them the Chancellor was the person whom I 
thought most likely to give effect to his opinion. But 
though I have no reason, from anything I have observed, 
since I first wrote to you, to doubt the existence of this dis- 
position in all the persons I have enumerated, and in some 
of principal weight out of the Cabinet, I have less expecta- 
tion than I had, of its leading to any practical result. I 
know recently from what seems good authority, that Adding- 
ton's resolution is taken not to retire unless forced to it ; 
and I believe his colleagues will think themselves too much 
committed to him, not to support him in that determination, 
however they may in their own minds disapprove of it. If 
I am right in this supposition, it will remain only to see 
what effect may be produced by my communication to the 
King. I do not expect much advantage from it beyond 
that of representing my conduct to His Majesty in its 
true light, and having myself the satisfaction of having 
endeavoured as far as depends upon me to save him from 
the disquietude and anxiety of seeing his Government 
shaken, if not displaced, by a strong Parliamentary opposi- 

This step, however, I cannot yet take, and must wait 
till his recovery is more confirmed. By the accounts I had 


yesterday I have no doubt that he is noiv getting quite well, 
and that official business begins to be submitted to him as 
usual; but I think another week at least must elapse, before 
I can be justified in writing to him on so delicate a point. 
Whenever I take the step, you shall have a copy of my 

In the mean time questions must occur probably in next 
week, on which I must take part— as 1 think it absolutely 
necessary to oppose Yorke's Bill for suspending the com- 
pletion of the Army of Reserve ; conceiving as I do, and in 
which I know I agree with you, that that measure properly 
modified, may make the foundation of the most effectual 
permanent mode of augmenting and maintaining the regular 
Army, and form in itself a most important branch of our 
future military system. I mean for this purpose to return 
to town, Monday or Tuesday, in next week. Our principal 
push must probably be made about the Monday following, 
that is the 23rd, and on some one or two days more, between 
that and the 30th ; after which, if the contest is not success- 
ful, I shall return hither to my Volunteers, and wait the 
issue of the contest of another kind, in which we must pro- 
bably be engaged before the summer is over. Under these 
circumstances the more you can hasten the departure of such 
of our friends as are not yet set out, the better. 

I have said nothing in answer to that part of your letter 
which relates to the Lord Advocate's situation, because you 
will easily conceive that your reasoning and the decision 
upon it are perfectly satisfactory. The account of your last 
conversation with Lord Moira reached me this morning, and 
requires no particular observation. He seems to have been 
very fair and candid, and as explicit as could be expected. 
Ever sincerely and affectionately yours, 

W. Pitt. 

Meanwhile the Easter holidays having passed, Par- 
liament had met again on the 5th of April. On Monday 
the 16th Mr, Pitt returned from Walmer Castle, and 
on the same evening took part in the debates of the 
House of Commons ; the question being the Third 
Reading of the Bill for the Augmentation of the Irish 
Militia. Mr. Pitt, as also Mr. Fox, spoke against it as 
inadequate to the national defence ; and in the division 


which ensued the Government had a majority of only 
21, the numbers being, 

For the Bill . . .128 

Against it . . . .107 

Majority . . .21 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Melville. 

York Place, Tuesday, April 17, 180L 

Dear Loi-d Melville,— On arriving in town yesterday just 
before the House met, I learn circumstances which leave no 
doubt that Government has taken very serious alarm. That 
alarm will not have been diminished by the division of yes- 
terday ; and I am much inclined to think that in a few days 
they must capitulate. If not, I am more and more con- 
vinced that in the course of next week they will be either 
beat on a division, or run so near as to prove the impos- 
sibility of their standing. 

On looking into the state of the House of Lords, we find 
that we can probably make almost as strong an impression 
there as in the House of Commons ; and it is nearly settled 
that some question will be moved in the Lords, on Thursday 
se'nnight, of a nature to try our strength to advantage. 
Lord Stafford, I believe, will move it. The importance of 
collecting all our strength on that occasion will, I hope, in- 
duce you to reconsider your intentions with respect to your- 
self. While the discussion was likely to be confined to the 
House of Commons, any object there might perhaps be 
gained by the appearance of the recruits you had sent us, 
but in the House of Lords your personal presence will be 
highly material. 

Independent, however, of all questions of Parliamentary 
strength, I am for still stronger reasons most anxious for 
your presence. It is not only in the event of my being com- 
pelled to make a narrow Government that I should feel your 
assistance indispensable. But even if we succeed in forming 
one as strong and comprehensive as we wish, I see no pos- 
sible reason (public or private) why you should not return 
to a seat in the Cabinet, with the Board of Control, and the 
management of Scotland. Neither of these can be a burden 
to you, or interfere with your plans of health and comfort 

VOL. III. r 


for a large part of the year. In short, on every account, I 
am most anxious to have you on the spot, and earnestly 
beg you, if possible, to set out immediately. 

I will send you some blank proxies by to-morrow's post, 
to be filled up by any Peer you can apply to, who cannot 
personally attend. You can hardly at any rate set out be- 
fore that letter reaches, but if you should, pray leave direc- 
tions with some one to open it. 

In great haste, ever sincei-ely yours, 

W. Pitt. 

The crisis seems so near, that Hope writes to the Advo- 
cate to urge his coming up if possible. He clearly should 
not resign till he comes to London, and it may then be un- 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Melville. 

York Place, Wednesdaj-, April 18, 1804. 

Dear Lord Melville, — Friday se'nnight is the day now 
fixed for Lord Stafford's motion in the House of Lords, and 
lit- moans to give notice to-morrow. You will, I hope, re 
ceive by this post some blank proxies, and you will be able 
to judge who there are in Scotland whom you can prevail 
upon to make use of them. As it will be uncertain what 
Peers may be at liberty to receive them, it will be desirable 
to get them signed, leaving a blank for the persons to whom 
they are to be entrusted. 

I have found it convenient, with a view to a full attend- 
ance, to defer my opposition to Yorke's Bill from to-day, 
when it is to he read a second time, till Friday, when it 
will be reported. We shall, I am persuaded, have a very 
strong division then, and another on Monday, when Fox is 
to move for a Committee of the whole House, to consider of 
the state of defence. All this course may, however, very 
probably become unnecessary, as the expectation I express (3 
to you yesterday has been strongly confirmed by what 1 have 
heard since; and 1 have great reason to think it probable 
that I shall be called upon, from the only proper quarter, to 
explain fully my sentiments before the end of the week. 

I hope any other letter I may wish to send will find you 
on the road, and if I have anything material to say, I will 
( ndeavour to find out where it will be most likely to meet 
you. Ever yours affectionately, \V. P. 


The expectations hinted at by Mr. Pitt in this last 
paragraph are best elucidated by a letter from Lord 
Grenville, which the Duke of Buckingham has pub- 
lished. That letter is of great historical value as the 
sole remaining record, so far as I am aware, of the 
communication which it details. 

Lord Grenville to the Marquis of Buckingham. 

April 19, 1804. 

Yesterday Pitt wrote to desire me to call upon him, 
which was for the purpose of telling me that Addington, 
since the division of Monday, had sent a message to him to 
desire to know whether he was willing to state, through any 
common friend, what his opinions were as to the present 
state of things, and the steps to be taken for carrying on the 
King's affairs. Pitt's answer was, that neither through a 
common friend, nor in any other mode, could he make any 
such statement to Mr. Addington, or for his information ; 
but that if the King thought proper to signify to him 
through any person with whom he could hold such com- 
munication his commands to that effect, it would be his 
duty to state to such person, and for His Majesty's informa- 
tion, his unreserved opinion as to the steps which ought to 
be taken for the establishment of a new Government. The 
reply to this was, that Mr. Addington acquiesced in this 
decision, and was to see His Majesty yesterday, or to-day — 
I am not quite sure which — for the purpose of submitting to 
His Majesty his humble advice, that His Majesty should, 
without delay, commission the Chancellor to see Mr. Pitt, 
and to receive from him the communication of his opinion 
on the present state of affairs. 

This has been communicated by Pitt to Fox ; and it has 
been further explained both to him and me, that although 
Pitt does not pledge himself not to obey the commands he 
may receive for attempting to form an exclusive Govern- 
ment, yet that his earnest endeavour will be used for his 
own sake, as well as for that of the King and the country, 
to induce His Majesty to authorise him to converse with 
Fox and me on the means of forming an united Govern- 

Here the matter now rests, and in the mean time it is 

p 2 


determined on all hands to be indispensably necessary that 
the course in Parliament which has produced this tardy 
and reluctant step should lie pursued without reference to it. 
Pitt opposes Yorke's Bill on Friday. Fox's motion is to 
come on next Monday; and to-day Lord Stafford gives 
notice of a similar motion for Friday se'nnight in the House 
of Lords. There is great reason to think that our divisions 
will be strong indeed on all these questions. If you should 
not be in town before Friday, pray do not forget to return 
me your proxy G. 

This letter seems to me to cast a wholly new light on 
Lord Eldon's conduct. The vehement censures upon 
it by Lord Brougham and Dean Pellew, written before 
this letter was made public, and even then, I think, 
not warranted, can no longer be sustained. It was from 
Mr. Addington himself that the Chancellor received 
authority to become the channel of communication be- 
tween the King and Mr. Pitt. That communication 
once opened, and once sanctioned by the King, could not 
be again arrested or laid aside unless at His Majesty's 
pleasure. Its propriety cannot be deemed dependent 
on its issue. If Mr. Addington was at the close disap- 
pointed and angry — if, as he told Mr. Abbot, he had 
an altercation on this subject with the Chancellor in 
the last Cabinet which he ever held — we may allow for 
his disappointment, but need not partake in his anger. 
We may rather concur with a judicious critic in the 
4 Edinburgh Review,' often supposed to be Sir George 
Cornewall Lewis. With a most upright spirit, such 
as that writer ever shows, he has given judgment as 
follows on the question : — ' There seems no ground 
for Lord Brougham's view that this communication 
through Lord Eldon was an intrigue.' ' 

On the day before Mr. Fox's intended motion, the 
correspondence with the Chancellor was accordingly 

1 Edinburgh Review, No. cexvii. (Jan. 1858), p. 157. See also 
l,ui.l I'ronsrliam's Historical Sketches of Statesmen, vol. i. p. 297. 


Mr. Pitt to Lord Melon. 

York Place, Sunday, April 22, 1804. 
My dear Lord, — Under the present peculiar circum- 
stances, I trust your Lordship will forgive my taking the 
liberty of requesting you to take charge of the enclosed letter 
to the King. Its object is to convey to His Majesty, as a 
mark of respect, a previous intimation of the sentiments 
which I may find it necessary to avow in Parliament, and at 
the same time an assurance, with respect to my own personal 
intentions, which I might perhaps not be justified in offer- 
ing, uncalled for, under any other circumstances, but which 
you will see my motive for not withholding at present. I 
certainly feel very anxious that this letter should be put 
into His Majesty's hands, if it can with propriety, before the 
discussion of to-morrow; but having no means of forming 
myself any sufficient judgment on that point, my wish is to 
refer it entirely to your Lordship's discretion, being fully 
persuaded that you will feel the importance of making the 
communication with as little delay as the nature of the case 
will admit. I shall enclose my letter, unsealed, for your 
inspection, knowing that you will allow me, in doing so, to 
request that you will not communicate its contents to any 
one but the King himself. I am the more anxious that you 
should see what I have written, because I cannot think of 
asking you to undertake to be the bearer of a letter express- 
ing sentiments so adverse to the Government with which 
you are acting, without giving you the previous opportunity 
of knowing in what manner those sentiments are stated. 

Believe me, &c., W. Pitt. 

Lord Eldon to Mr. Pitt. 

Sunday night (April 22, 1804). 
My dear Sir, — I received your letter, but not till after 
my interview of this day with His Majesty was concluded. 

And till he has had the repose of a night, and I 

have learnt the effect of to-morrow's proceedings on Tuesday 
morning, I cannot, according to my notions of duty to him, 
take any step which must affect him so materially as the 
communication of your opinions will, and ought to affect 


I return the enclosed to you. The language of it is con- 
ceived under the notion that the delivery of it may precede 
a debate, which it may not precede if that debate takes place 
to-morrow. If, notwithstanding this observation, you wish 
it should be in my hands, to act as such discretion as I may 
have may dictate, pray return it to me. If you wish to 
alter it, as that which should be delivered to His Majesty 
after such debate, you will probably feel a wish to vary the 
terms of it accordingly. 

It is impossible for me not to be aware that, in deliver- 
ing any such paper to His Majesty, much may be, properly 
or improperly, observed upon my conduct. My judgment is 
that I ought to convey to His Majesty your sentiments as 
those of a person long in his service, and most deservedly 

I beg distinctly to say that the delivery of the letter 
admits nothing. I will give His Majesty an honest opinion 
for and against myself and others. 

I am, dear Sir, &c, Eldon. 

Mr Pitt to Lord Eldon. 

York Place, Sunday night, 
April 22, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — I have no hesitation in availing myself 
of your permission to return into your hands my letter to 
tlic King. My wish is to leave it entirely to your discre- 
tion, whether it can be delivered before the debate to-morrow. 
If not, I anxiously wish that it should be known to His 
Majesty, in due time, that it was deposited with you, in 
order that it should be so delivered, if you shoidd judge that 
it could with propriety. 

I am, my dear Lord, &c., \V. Pitt. 

This letter and the following ones will be found in 
the Appendix to this volume. The Chancellor did not 
place it in the King's hands until the 27th of the 

Meanwhile the debates in both Houses had been 
proceeding. In the Lords, there had been, on the 19th 
of April, a motion by the Earl of Carlisle for certain 
papers respecting the war in India, which was carried 


against Ministers by a majority of one, the numbers 
being : — 

Contents . . . .31 
Non-Contents . . .30 

Majority ... 1 

And on the same evening, upon the Second Reading 
of the Irish Militia Offer Bill, the Opposition mustered 
49 against 77 votes. Lord Malmesbury, in his Diary, 
and according to the notions of that day, speaks of the 
Ministers in the House of Lords as being ' very nearly 

Another and more important party motion on the 
State of the Nation was announced for the 30th by 
Lord Stafford. This was the same person whom I have 
mentioned as Earl Grower, and Ambassador to Paris in 
1792, and who in 1803 had succeeded his father as 
second Marquis. 

In the Commons, the next trial of strength was 
expected to take place on Monday, the 23rd, when 
Mr. Fox had given notice that he would move to refer 
the several Bills for the defence of the country to a 
Committee of the whole House, — in other words, a vote 
of want of confidence in Ministers. An anxious whip 
was made by both parties, and persons unconnected 
with either felt no little perplexity as to the course 
they should pursue. Thus writes Mr. Wilberforce, in 
his Diary, April 18th, 1804: — 'I am out of spirits 
and doubtful about the path of duty in these political 
battles. I cannot help regretting that Addington's 
temperance and conciliation should not be connected 
with more vigour. Lord, direct me right, and let me 
preserve an easy mind resigned to Thee and fixed on 
Thy favour ! ' 

Mr. Fox, according to his notice, brought on his 
motion upon the 23rd. The debate to which it gave 
rise continued until four in the morning. Mr. Wilber- 


force, after many conscientious doubts, ended by voting 
on the Opposition side. ' Pitt able, but too strong,' 
says he, in his account of the speeches. But instead of 
giving any extracts from Pitt's address, I shall rather 
here insert a full description of it, as derived from 
another most intelligent hearer. 

Mr. Francis Horner to his father. 

London, April 24, 1804. 

My dear Sir, — You will not get yesterday's newspaper, 
in consequence of my going down to Westminster before it 
arrived. I was at the door of the House by half-past eight ; 
so that we had a pretty good seat of it, till three next morn- 
ing. But we were fully rewarded. I have not read the 
report in the Morning Chronicle ; but if it is no better than 
they have been of late, you will receive but a feeble im- 
pression of the debate. Fox's opening speech was not 
eloquent; on the contrary, slovenly as to manner, and 
languid. Probably from an express intention to restrain 
himself on personal topics, that he might not anticipate Pitt 
in this respect, he did not allude to Ministers, but confined 
himself to the inadequacy of the present arrangements for 
national defence, and the means of improving them into a 
permanent system by a better plan of recruiting, and by 
regulations for military exercises among the peasantry. All 
the substance of his speech was excellent. Pitt gave us 
both substance and manner, as a debater of the highest 
powers ; most explicit in his declaration against Ministers, 
which he delivered, however, as if at last after much con- 
sideration and reluctance; but he enforced it with a good 
deal of grave vehement declamation in his way, and some 
touches of that bitter, freezing sarcasm, which everybody 
agrees is his most original talent, and appears indeed most 
natural to him. His speech was very argumentative and 
full of details; throughout the impression he left was — and 
he disguised very successfully his anxiety to make this im- 
pression — that every measure Government had adopted for 
tin' national defence originated from his suggestion, which 
they had marred, however, by adopting them imperfectly, 
and carrying them still worse into execution. 


One feature of the debate I must not forget — the fulsome 
adulation paid by Tierney and the Attorney- General to Pitt; 
the latter of wbom said that no event would be more agree- 
able to the country than his return to power : — a very strange 
expression to use in such circumstances. 

Love to my mother and sisters, &c. 

Fra. Horner. 

In the division which ensued that evening, the 
numbers were : — 

P'or Mr. Fox's motion . . 204 
Against it . . . .256 

Majority for Ministers . 52 

These numbers, which at some other periods in our 
history would have been celebrated as a great triumph 
to the Government, were in 1804, after a Ministry 
accustomed to large majorities, looked upon as little 
short of a defeat. 

Nevertheless Addington hoped to maintain his 
ground. But only two days after his majority of 52 
in the House of Commons, the attack upon him was 
renewed. On Wednesday the 25th, and on the Order of 
the day to go into Committee on the Army of Eeserve 
Suspension Bill, Pitt rose, and in a speech of great 
eloquence and force, inveighed not only against some 
parts of this particular measure, but against the general 
system of defence pursued by Addington. Nor was he 
satisfied with objections merely ; he further stated very 
clearly the general principles of the system which he 
desired to propose. Again did Fox speak, again did 
Wilberforce vote upon the same side ; and, in the divi- 
sion which followed, the Ministerial majority dwindled 
from 52 to 37, the numbers being : — 

For the motion . . .240 
Against it . . . . 203 

Majority for Ministers . 37 


In this last division, and in that upon the 23rd, it 
is noted by Speaker Abbot, in his Diary, that Fox's 
friends showed themselves very doubtful of deriving 
any personal benefit from their co-operation with 
Pitt. Mr. Court enay said: 'We are the pioneers 
digging the foundations, but Mr. Pitt will be the 
architect to build the house, and to inhabit it.' But 
considerations thus merely selfish did not sway Mr. Fox 

Next morning, the 26th, Addington reviewed his 
whole position. He looked back to his diminishing 
majorities in the House of Commons ; he looked for- 
ward to a similar result, or perhaps even to a defeat, on 
the closely impending motion of the Marquis of Staf- 
ford in the House of Lords. Upon the whole case, he 
came to the resolution to resign. That same afternoon 
he sought an audience of the King, and stated to His 
Majesty the decision at which he had arrived. The 
King received the news with great concern and great 
reluctance. He offered to Addington to dissolve the 
Parliament and appeal to the people, or to take any 
other course which his Minister could suggest for his 
maintenance in power. A few days later, when admit- 
ting the resignation as inevitable, His Majesty ex- 
pressed an anxious wish to create him Earl of Banbury 
and Viscount Wallingford, and to settle an adequate 
pension both on himself and Mrs. Addington. With a 
high sense of public duty, and most commendable per- 
sonal disinterestedness, Addington respectfully declined 
to avail himself of any of these favours. 

Addington did not, however, notify his purpose to his 
colleagues until late in the evening of Sunday the 29th. 
Then a Cabinet being held, the resolution of resigning 
was officially taken and declared. 

On that same Sunday the correspondence between 
the Chancellor and Mr. Pitt had been continued. The 
Chancellor wrote first to propose a personal interview, 
and Mr. Pitt had thus replied : — 

1804 THE BUDGET. 219 

York Place, Sunday, April 29, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — I am very much obliged to you for your 
letter, and must feel great satisfaction in learning the manner 
in which the assurances contained in my letter were received. 
I shall be at home till half-past two to-day, and afterwards 
from five to six, and any time before six to-moirow, if you 
should find occasion to call here ; or if you prefer seeing me 
at any other hour, or at your house, you will have the good- 
ness to let me know, and I shall be at your commands. 

Sincerely and faithfully yours, W. Pitt. 

In the forenoon of Monday the 30th, the Lord Chan- 
cellor called upon Mr. Pitt, by the King's orders, to 
inform him of Mr. Addington's impending resignation, 
and of His Majesty's desire to receive from Mr. Pitt in 
writing, the plan of a new administration. 

At the meeting of the House of Lords that evening, 
and in anticipation of the Marquis of Stafford, Lord 
Hawkesbury, one of the Secretaries of State, rose and 
said that ' lie had reasons of the highest and most 
weighty importance which induced him to request the 
noble marquis to postpone his motion.' With that 
request, after some discussion, Lord Stafford complied, 
and the House adjourned. 

In the House of Commons, the same evening, 
Addington brought forward the Budget for the year; 
following, in that respect, the precedent of Pitt, who, 
in 1801, had also brought forward his Budget after he 
had tendered his resignation. ' Addington did it well,' 
says Lord Malmesbury ; ' sixteen millions loan, and 
seven millions new taxes.' When the Minister con- 
cluded his speech and sat down, a question of Mr. Fox 
elicited from him some expressions similar to those 
which Lord Hawkesbury had already used in the 
House of Lords. His language might be vague, but his 
meaning was well understood ; and the House, at his 
suggestion, readily agreed to postpone all disputed 
points before them. 

In this and in some of the preceding chapters I have 


traced the course of Mr. Pitt from the hour when he 
left the Cabinet to the hour when once again he stood 
upon its threshold. Within a recent date a whole flood 
of light has been poured upon his conduct during these 
three years. His views all through that time are laid 
bare in abundant and authentic records. His most 
familiar letters have been carefully preserved, his most 
secret conferences have been minutely noted down, and 
both have been sent to press without stint or reserve of 
any kind. No statesman perhaps was ever yet exposed 
to so searching an ordeal. Had he. in these years out of 
office, dipped into any intrigue unworthy of the public 
eye, and intended for lasting concealment, his very cele- 
brity would here have turned against his fame. But, on 
the contrary, as it appears to me, his career, even when 
thus closely pried into, stands forth unsullied and pure. 
In every transaction of the period, he will be found, as 
I conceive, to combine a lofty regard for the public 
interests with a nice sense of personal honour. Nay, I 
will even venture to assert that the various charges 
which have formerly been brought against him in refer- 
ring to this time, can only be sustained on imperfect 
information, and will be found to wane and fade away 
in exact proportion as more light is brought to bear 
upon them. 

1804 221 



Pitt's views respecting a new administration transmitted to the 
King — His Majesty's letter to Pitt — Pitt's reply — His interview 
with the King — Pitt undertakes the formation of a new Govern- 
ment, excluding Fox — Communications to other party chiefs- 
Fox's generous course — Lord Grenville's negative answer — Pitt 
receives the Seals — The new Cabinet — Other changes of office — 
Precarious state of the King's health. 

On the 2nd of May Mr. Pitt, in conformity with the 
King's commands, transmitted to His Majesty his views 
respecting a new administration. The form which he 
adopted was a letter to the Chancellor. It will be found 
in the Appendix to this volume. It pointed out in the 
strongest terms the advantages, both to England and 
to Europe, that would ensue from a strong and compre- 
hensive Government, mentioning especially the names 
of Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox, and it was accompanied 
by the following private note : — 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Eldon. 

York Place, Wednesday, May 2, 1804, 
J past 1, p.m. 

My dear Lord, — I enclose a letter addressed to you, 
which I shall be much obliged to you if you will lay before 
His Majesty. I am sorry not to have been able to make it 
shorter, or to send it you sooner. As I think it may pro- 
bably find you at the Court of Chancery, I will, at the same 
time that I send it, ride down to Mr. Rose's, at Palace 
Yard, in order that I may be easily within your reach, if 
anything should arise on which you may wish to see me 
before you go to the Queen's House. If you should not be 
at the Court of Chancery, I shall order my letter to be 
carried to your house, unless my servant should learn where 
it can be delivered to you sooner. 

Ever, my dear Lord, etc., W. Pitt. 


The written representation of Mr. Pitt for a strong 
and comprehensive Government was most distasteful to 
George the Third, and not less so to Lord Eldon. His 
Majesty's answer, at full length, was returned on the 
5th of May. The great harshness and exasperation 
which it displays throughout are best explained or best 
excused by his recent malady. To his former Minister 
he shows no part of his former regard. To Lord Gren- 
ville, and also to Lord Melville, he gives a sharp touch 
in passing; and he then proceeds to deal blows on Mr. 
Fox, expressing his astonishment that, after what had 
passed, such a name should even be brought before him. 
He declares that unless Mr. Pitt will relinquish his idea 
of concert with Mr. Fox, and also with Lord Grenville, 
Mr. Pitt cannot be trusted to form a new administration. 
Finally, he seems to refuse, since he fails to notice, the 
request which Mr. Pitt had preferred for a personal in- 

But His Majesty's sentiments are perhaps still more 
clearly shown in a private note which he on the same 
day addressed to the Chancellor : — 

May 5, 1804. 

The TCing is much pleased with his excellent Chancellor's 
note : he doubts much whether Mr. Pitt will, after weighing 
the contents of the paper delivered this day to him by Lord 
Eldon, choose to have a personal interview with His Majesty; 
but whether he will not rather prepare another essay, con- 
taining as many empty words and little information as the 
one he had before transmitted. 

His Majesty will, with great pleasure, receive the Lord 
Chancellor to morrow, between ten and eleven, the time he 
himself proposed. George R. 

Mr. Pitt could not fail to be grieved and hurt by 
the letter which the King had sent him. But his reply 
on the 6th is marked by forbearance and dignity ; for- 
bearance due to his .Sovereign after his late affliction — 
dignity derived from his own character and services. He 
shortly adverted to each of the points which the King 


had raised, and respectfully renewed his application for 
an audience. If this were not granted, he wrote, ' I am 
grieved to say that I cannot retain any hope that my 
feeble services can be employed in any manner advan- 
tageous to your Majesty's affairs.' 

All this time Mr. Pitt, to nearly all his friends, 
maintained, as was his duty, a strict reserve. Lord 
Malmesbury observes in his Diary : * The only proof I 
could collect this week of Pitt's opinion, was from his 
telling Fitz-Harris, who dined with him on the 3rd of 
May at Lord Carrington's, that he would not be wanted 
in the House, and might go to take charge of his regi- 
ment (the 2nd Wilts Militia), which was to be inspected 
very soon.' 

The last letter of Mr. Pitt, and the renewed repre- 
sentations of Lord Eldon, wrought favourably with the 
King. He consented to see Mr. Pitt, and sent him a 
message accordingly, on the morning of the 7th of May. 
The Chancellor, who conveyed the message, describes 
himself as much offended by a very natural inquiry 
which, from a knowledge of his views in politics, Mr. 
Pitt addressed to him. Here is his own account, derived 
from his Anecdote-Book. 

' When Mr. Acldington went out of office, and Mr. 
Pitt succeeded him, the King was just recovered from 
mental indisposition. He ordered me to go to Mr. Pitt 
with his commands for Mr. Pitt to attend him. I went 
to him, to Baker Street or York Place, to deliver those 
commands. I found him at breakfast. After some 
little conversation he said, as the King was pleased to 
command his attendance with a view of formino- a new 
administration, he hoped I had not given any turn to 
the King's mind which could affect any proposition he 
might have to make to his Majesty upon that subject. 
I was extremely hurt by this. I assured him I had not ; 
that I considered myself as a gentleman bringing to a 
gentleman a message from a King; and that I should 
have acted more unworthily than I believed myself 


capable of acting, if I had given any opinion upon what 
might be right to His Majesty.' ' 

When, in writing his Anecdotes many years later, 
Lord Eldon described himself as so deeply wounded by 
this question, he must surely have forgotten that in his 
letter to Mr. Pitt of April 22^ he had expressly an- 
nounced his intention to offer to the King his advice 
' for and against, myself and others.' 

Moreover, although Lord Eldon, in this passage, 
declares himself to have been greatly displeased, it is 
certain that at the time his attachment to Mr. Pitt, and 
his zeal for the new arrangement, continued unabated. 

From York Place the Chancellor and Mr. Pitt went, 
in the Chancellor's carriage, to Buckingham House. 
When they arrived there Pitt asked him, ' Are you sure 
His Majesty is well enough to see me?' Lord Eldon 
insisted, this doubt having once been expressed, that Mr. 
Pitt should, in the first place, speak to the physicians 
alone in an adjoining room, since it was then their usual 
hour of calling, and since, as it chanced, they were 
already come. Mr. Pitt went to them accordingly, and 
remained absent, as the Chancellor states, a considerable 
time. When he came back, he declared that he was 
quite satisfied with their report. ' But I had heard,' he 
said, ' only yesterday, on what I thought unquestionable 
authority, that you had never seen the King but in the 
presence of the Doctors. This was news which came 
from Carlton House, and which, as I now learn, is utterly 
devoid of truth.' 

Mr. Pitt, it seems, had asked the physicians whether, 
since the King had not seen him for three years, the 
first meeting, after such an interval, and especially with 
such grave business before them, might tend to disturb 
or unsettle his Majesty's mind. The physicians assured 
him it would not. But Pitt was not content with only 
a verbal reply. He put his queries on paper, and desired 
the physicians to write their opinions beneath and sign 

1 Twiss's Life of Lord L'ldon, vol. i. p. 417. 


them, which they did accordingly. ' If,' said Pitt to 
them, 'you had at all demurred, I certainly would have 
returned without going in.' l 

It is no doubt a most curious fact, as here alleged, 
that Mr. Pitt had not seen His Majesty for three years. 
So it was stated by Lord St. Helen's, both to Lord 
Malmesbury and to Mr. Abbot. 2 Here, however, we 
must understand ' to see ' in the sense of ' to converse 
with,' since Pitt had from time to time paid his respects 
to the King at the Birthday or the Drawing Room. 
Sometimes they also crossed in riding. Thus I find noted 
in a private letter of June, 1803, 'that two days before, 
the King had chanced to meet Mr. Pitt in Hyde Park, 
and had passed him by without notice.' 3 

When Mr. Pitt took leave of the physicians, he was 
next introduced to the King ; the Lord Chancellor all 
this time remaining in the ante-chamber. 

The interview between the King and Mr. Pitt con- 
tinued during Ml three hours. Pitt, on the next day, 
gave to Rose some particulars of this long conversation. 
He declared that the King had received him with the 
utmost possible kindness and cordiality. ' I must con- 
gratulate your Majesty,' said Pitt, ' on your looking 
better now than on your recovery from your last illness,' 
alluding to the spring of 1801. 'That is not to be 
wondered at,' answered His Majesty. ' I was then on the 
point of parting with an old friend ; I am now about to 
regain one.' 4 Seldom has any Sovereign paid a more 
graceful compliment to any subject. 

The King and Mr. Pitt then passed on to discuss the 
terms of a new Ministry. In the course of this long 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 303. 

1 This passage is given by Dean Pellew from Mr. Abbot's original 
MS. in his Life of Lord Kidmouth, vol. ii. p. 286. But, strange to 
say, it does not appear in the complete Diary which the present 
Lord Colchester has published. See the other corresponding entries 
at vol. i. p. 507. 

3 Memoirs of Francis Horner, vol. i. p. 230. 

4 Diaries of Mr. Rose, vol. ii. p. 121. 



conversation, said Mr. Pitt, the King digressed a good 
deal whenever he came to suggestions of Mr. Pitt which 
he did not like. But he was always most perfectly 
rational, and returned to the suggestions exactly at the 
parts from which he had gone off. Mr. Pitt used his most 
strenuous endeavours to convince his Sovereign of the 
necessity at that crisis to lay aside past grounds of resent- 
ment, and to form against the common enemy a strong 
and united administration. He pressed the point again 
and again, as he said to Rose, and with all the reasons 
he could find. Nor did Pitt entirely fail. His Majesty 
consented to admit the Grenvilles. His Majesty con- 
sented to admit any friends of Fox. But as to Fox 
personally, the result was such as the King himself 
described in a note addressed on the 9th to Mr. Adding- 
ton : — ' Mr. Fox is excluded by the express command of 
the King to Mr. Pitt.' 

When, at the close of this long interview, Mr. Pitt 
at last came out, he found the Chancellor still waiting, 
and related to his Lordship what had passed. However 
disappointed he might feel at the King's resolute deter- 
mination, he declared himself quite satisfied, and even 
surprised with the King's state of mind. * Never,' he 
said, ' in any conversation I have had with him in my 
life has he so baffled me.' 

The persistence of the King against the advice of 
his new Prime Minister may, however, on one point be 
in some measure defended. He complained of the great 
Whig statesman, not merely as a Sovereign, but as a 
father. To the example of Fox he imputed both the 
lavish waste and the loose amours of the Prince of 
Wales. To the precepts of Fox he imputed the Prince's 
politics, so directly in opposition to the King's. Every 
act of filial disrespect or disobedience in His Royal 
Highness was, however unjustly, traced to one and the 
same source. No wonder then if George the Third felt 
most unwilling to bestow on Mr. Fox any share in his 
innermost confidence and counsels. 


It was to this share in his counsels that the King's 
resistance was, it seems, confined. When at this inter- 
view of the 7th, Mr. Pitt found the King quite im- 
movable on that point, and steadily refusing to accept 
Mr. Fox as one of his Ministers, Mr. Pitt then asked 
His Majesty whether he would object to Mr. Fox 
being employed abroad, if by any possibility he should 
offer himself for a foreign Mission on any occasion 
that might appear to him worthy to engage in. To 
this the King's answer was, ' Not at all.' He limited 
his objections solely to the bringing Mr. Fox into 
the Cabinet. 

Mr. Pitt, finding his Sovereign thus resolute, and 
knowing on how frail a tenure his mental health at 
that time depended, consented, according to his pre- 
vious purpose, to give way. He undertook to form a 
Government even with this exclusion. On leaving the 
King, he immediately sent Mr. Canning to Lord 
Grenville, and Lord Granville Leveson to Mr. Fox, to 
acquaint them with what had passed. Lord Grenville 
received the communication coldly. He said at once 
that if Fox was excluded, he did not think that he 
could take office, 1 but desired before he gave a final answer 
to consult his friends, whom he would summon to meet 
that same evening at Camelford House. Later in the 
afternoon Pitt called upon his cousin, and in full detail 
explained his case. 

Mr. Fox, on whom Mr. Pitt had no personal claim 
whatever, showed on public grounds a lofty and gener- 
ous spirit. On the preceding day he had left a note at 
the house of Mr. Thomas Grenville, stating, as Mr. Can- 
ning related it to Lord Malmesbury, ' he wished it 
should appear as a record, and be known, that he stood 
in the way of no arrangement ; that he was sure the 
King would exclude him ; but that this ought not on 
any account to prevent the Grenvilles from coming in, 
and that as far as his influence went, it should not 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 321. 
Q 2 


prevent his own friends.' To Lord Granville Leveson 
he expressed no disappointment, no anger, no surprise. 
He said, ' I am myself too old to care now about office, 
but I have many friends who for years have followed 
me. I shall advise them now to join Government, and 
I trust Pitt can give them places.' 

This answer being without delay brought back to 
Mr. Pitt, he expressed, and with good reason, great 
pleasure at Mr. Fox's conduct. He immediately desired 
Lord Granville Leveson to return and say how ready he 
was to comply with Mr. Fox's wishes for his friends, and 
that he hoped to see him the next morning. To the 
interview thus proposed Mr. Fox readily agreed. But 
meanwhile his friends in Parliament, headed by Mr. Grey, 
had decided to hold a meeting that same evening at 
Carlton House. There they came to an unanimous deci- 
sion that whatever might be Mr. Fox's wishes, they would 
not accept his highminded self-denial, nor agree to take 
office without their chief. Exactly similar to this was 
the decision at Camelford House. Lord Grenville pro- 
posed to the politicians there assembled to maintain 
the comprehensive principle, and to refuse to take part 
in any Government from which Mr. Fox must be ex- 
cluded. In this view he was followed by Mr. Windham, 
by Lord Spencer, and by all the rest who owned him as 
their leader. 

Here is an extract from Mr. Rose's Diary next day : 
'May 8, 1804. Found the Bishop of Lincoln with 
Mr. Pitt. In talking over occurrences and probable 
events, Mr. Pitt seemed in the highest possible spirits ; 
neither he nor the Bishop nor myself knowing anything 
then of the resolutions or proceedings of the meetings 
at Camelford House or Carlton House ; but an impres- 
sion on the minds of each of us that so fair an opening 
presented^itself for Fox as to afford a reasonable cer- 
tainty that he would not allow it to escape him 

All our hopes and expectations were, however, soon 
destroyed by Mr. Canning coming in to announce the 


resolutions of the preceding evening, and to say that 
in consequence of these Mr. Fox declined a meeting 

with Mr. Pitt as useless Lord Grenville 

wrote to Mr. Pitt to announce to him what was de- 
cided at the meeting at his house, and to put an end 
to all possibility of any further expectation of his Lord- 

Thus on both sides, right and left — by Lord Gren- 
ville no less than by Mr. Fox — the power of choice to 
Mr. Pitt was greatly narrowed. Thenceforth he could 
only form his administration from two classes of persons 
— from among his own personal adherents, or from 
those who had already held office under Mr. Addington. 
It was a great loss, a heavy disappointment to him. 
Of Mr. Fox he had no complaint to make. But consi- 
dering his own intimate connexion with Lord Gren- 
ville — a connexion of family, of friendship, and of office 
— he thought himself aggrieved. ' I recollect,' says 
Lord Eldon, in a fragment which Mr. Twiss has pre- 
served — ' I recollect Mr. Pitt saying with some indig- 
nation, he would teach that proud man that, in the 
service and with the confidence of the King, he could 
do without him, though he thought his health such that 
it might cost him his life.' 

Meanwhile, the correspondence with the Chancellor 
continued, and there was another audience of the King. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Eldon. 

York Place, Tuesday, May 8, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — I shall be much obliged to you if you 
can send me a single line to let me know what accounts you 
have from the Queen's House this morning. I shall be very 
desirous of seeing you in the course of the day, and will 
endeavour either to find you near the House of Lords 
between four and five, or will call on you in the evening. 
It will probably be desirable that I should see the King 
again to-morrow. 

Ever, my dear Lord, &c, W. P. 


York Place, Wednesday night, May 9, 1804. 
My dear Lord, — I have had another interview to-day, 
not quite, I am sorry to say, so satisfactory as that of 
Monday. I do not think there was anything positively 
wrong, but there was a hurry of spirits, and an excessive 
love of talking, which showed that either the airing of this 
morning, or the seeing of so many persons, and conversing 
so much during these three days, has rather tended to 
disturb. The only inference I draw from this observation 
is, that too much caution cannot be used in still keeping 
exertion of all sorts, and particularly conversation, within 
reasonable limits. If that caution can be sufficiently adhered 
to, I have no doubt that everything will go well ; and there 
is certainly nothing in what I have observed that would, in 
the smallest degree, justify postponing any of the steps that 
are in progress towards arrangement. I am, therefore, to 
attend again to-morrow, for the purpose of receiving the 
Seals, which Mr. Addington will have received notice from 
His Majesty to bring. If I should not meet you there, I 
will endeavour to see you afterwards at the House of Lords. 
I am, my dear Lord, &c, W. Pitt. 

In accordance with the expectation expressed in this 
letter, the Seals of office were on the following morning, 
the 10th of May, brought back by Mr. Addington to 
the King, and delivered by His Majesty to Mr. Pitt. 
That same day the new writ for the University of Cam- 
bridge, rendered necessary by his return to office, was 
moved in the House of Commons by Mr. Long. 

During these arrangements, Lord Melville, who had 
some time since arrived from Scotland, was in frequent 
and friendly communication with Mr. Pitt. The fol- 
lowing note refers to a suggestion which had verbally 
passed between them : — 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Melville. 

York Place, Friday night, 
May 10, 1804. 

Dear Lord Melville, — On reflecting on the whole subject 
tliis evening, I doubt much the utility and propriety of 
sending to Lord Moira, and will beg you to suspend it till 
after wc meet to-morrow. Ever yours, W. P. 




I have found in Mr. Pitt's handwriting a sketch, as 
it seems, of the combined administration which he had 
wished to form. It is as follows : — 

Treasury .... 

Secretaries of State 

Admiralty .... 
Lord President . 
Privy Seal .... 
Lord Chancellor . 
Master-General of Ordnance 
Chancellor of Duchy . 
Board of Control 
Lord Steward 
Committee of Trade 
Secretary at War 
Secretory to Ireland . 

Mr. Pitt. 
fLord Melville. 
<j Mr. Fox. 
j^Lord Fitzwilliam. 

Lord Spencer. 

Lord Grenville. 

Duke of Portland. 

Lord Eldon. 

Lord Chatham. 

Mr. Windham. 

Lord Castlereagh. 

Lord Camden. 

Lord Harrowby. 

Mr. Grey. 

Mr. Canning. 

The conduct of Mr. Pitt in this transaction has even 
in our own times been assailed on two opposite grounds. 
Some persons have blamed him for ever proposing Mr. 
Fox as one of his Cabinet colleagues. Other persons 
have blamed him for not at all hazards persisting in that 
proposal, and making it a sine qua non condition with 
the King. 

As regards the first of these charges, I know not that 
I have anything to add to the arguments so clearly 
stated by Pitt himself, in his letter of the 2nd of May. 
At a time when it was sought to combine all parties to 
resist the apprehended invasion, and to form new 
alliances abroad, it was surely of no light moment to 
fortify the Government with a statesman of Fox's genius 
and renown. For such an object it was wise, it was 
patriotic, to cast aside as unworthy the occasion all 
remembrance of past animosity and party discord. The 
coalition of 1804, had it been effected, would have 
differed in all respects from the coalition of 1783. In 
1783 the country was at the close of a war. National 


defence was no longer at issue, and questions of home 
policy would claim and would deserve the foremost 
place. A junction between Fox and North, who on 
all these questions were wide asunder, was therefore 
most rightfully condemned. But in 1804 it was just 
the reverse. The country was at the beginning of a 
war. National defence was then the paramount consi- 
deration, and other grounds of difference might be, not 
indeed relinquished, but postponed. Who would desire 
to wrangle about Reform in Parliament or to nibble at 
the Treason and Sedition Bills when Bonaparte, with a 
hundred thousand of the best troops of Europe, was 
encamped at Boulogne ? 

The second of these charges is stated by Lord 
Macaulay with his usual force and perspicuity. He owns 
that Pitt did his best to overcome the scruples of the 
King. ' That he was perfectly sincere,' adds Lord Mac- 
aulay, ' there can be no doubt. But it was not enough 
to be sincere ; he should have been resolute. Had he 
declared himself determined not to take office without 
Fox, the Royal obstinacy would have given way, as it 
gave way a few months later, when opposed to the im- 
mutable resolution of Lord Grenville.' l 

To me, on the contrary, it appears that on full con- 
sideration of the circumstances there is no real parity 
between the case of Pitt in May, 1 804, and the case of 
Lord Grenville in January, 1806. In 1804 the King 
was fully determined rather than yield Fox's admission 
to fall back on Addington's Government. Nor was this a 
mere visionary scheme. It must be remembered that 
Addington had not been outvoted, but only close-run. 
It was not impossible, it was only very difficult, for 
that Cabinet to continue in office ; and that difficulty 
would have been much lessened by the news that 
Pitt had failed in adjusting matters with the King. 
People would have said that after all they must have 
some Government, and that if Pitt's could not be 

1 Biographies, p. 223, ed. 1 8G0. 


framed, they had best make up their mind to Adding- 

In January, 1 806, on the other hand, the Pitt party 
was broken down by the death of its chief. When 
questioned by the King, through Lord Hawkesbury, it 
declared itself wholly unable to carry on the Govern- 
ment. Addington was become a Peer. Perceval had 
not yet risen from legal to political eminence. There 
was not left a single statesman in the House of Commons 
to whom the King could apply if he rejected the terms 
of Grenville. He had, therefore, no choice. He could 
make no resistance ; nor did he, in truth, attempt any. 
When in their first interview Lord Grenville frankly told 
him that he must have Mr. Fox for his principal col- 
league, His Majesty did not offer one word of objection, 
but said at once : ' I understood it so ; and I meant it 

It seems to me moreover that in considering Pitt's 
conduct at this juncture, the state of the King's health 
is to be borne in mind. This was not, as Pitt's opponents 
have alleged, a mere point of personal feeling — though 
even thus it would need no apology in one who had 
been the confidential servant of his Sovereign for a 
period of seventeen years. But was it a light risk, at a 
time especially when a French invasion was preparing, 
to take any course that might render necessary the 
discussion of a Bill of Regency, and the transfer of 
Royal authority to other hands ? 

It seems a little doubtful, although the doubt did 
not in any manner weigh with Pitt, whether, if the King's 
aversion had been overcome, and the offer had been 
made, Fox would after all have accepted office. Pitt 
was fully determined to be himself First Lord of the 
Treasury and Prime Minister. He had taken care that 
there should be no misunderstanding upon that point. 
He had taken care, as we have seen in his letter of 
March the 29th, to state his determination to Lord 
Melville, and through Lord Melville to Lord Moira and 


the Prince of Wales. For Fox he designed the post of 
Foreign Secretary, a post especially adapted to Fox's 
tastes and talents. But, on the other hand, Fox most 
expressly declared on several occasions — both before the 
period of May, 1804, and subsequently to it — his strong 
unwillingness to come in with Pitt at the head of the 
Government, and his desire first to see some other per- 
son — he cared little whom — in that place. 

Independently of this general view of politics in Fox's 
mind, it should be noted that he retained the utmost 
bitterness of feeling against his ancient rival. That 
bitterness was not at all diminished even in the few 
months preceding May, 1804, when their general course 
was the same, and their votes on many questions coin- 
cided. In that period the familiar letters of Fox are 
full of opprobrious terms. Writing to Grey, he calls 
Pitt * a mean, low-minded dog.' Writing to Fitzpatrick, 
he says of the same : ' He is a mean rascal after all, 
and you who have sometimes supposed him to be high- 
minded were quite wrong.' ' How different, how very 
different, I may say in passing, was the tone of Pitt to 
Fox! I doubt whether in the whole course of Pitt's 
most private correspondence there can be found a single 
expression about Fox inconsistent with the personal 
respect which eminent men owe to one another. 

But if even we doubt whether the junction with Fox 
at this time could have been effected, it does not follow 
that the offer would have been of small importance. 
The offer, though declined, would have released both 
his own followers and those of Lord Grenville from their 
supposed point of honour. Able men among them 
would no longer have been found unwilling to take part 
in Pitt's administration. 

I must also observe that in first proposing Mr. Fox, 
Mr. Pitt had deliberately hazarded the serious displea- 
sure, not only of the King, but of very many among his 

1 Correspondence, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. pp. 410 
and 4 •"<■">. 


own followers and partisans. This is related in Mr. 
Abbot's Diary. This is avowed in Lord Eldon's Corre- 
spondence. But most striking of all is the testimony on 
this point, and on several others, of a statesman who 
had been in Mr. Addington's Cabinet, and who remained 
in Mr. Pitt's. I am referring to a private letter from 
Lord Castlereagh as President of the Board of Control 
to Lord Wellesley as Governor-General of India. That 
letter has been already published in the Wellesley 
Despatches, 1 but merged as it is in huge masses of 
Indian documents, it has hitherto, I think, attracted 
little notice. I shall, therefore, at this place repro- 
duce it. 

Lord Castlereayh to the Marquis Wellesley. 

London, May 18, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — ........ 

I shall not attempt to trace the various causes which at 
first by slow degrees, and latterly by rapid strides, produced 
so afflicting a change in the reciprocal feelings of former 
friends ; your Lordship's sentiments of attachment to them 
all, will best enable you to appreciate what those suffered 
who had a public duty to perform in this trying struggle. 
It is enough to remark, that on the meeting of Parliament 
after the Recess, the measures of Government were attacked 
on two or three questions, on which the united force of Mr. 
Pitt's, Mr. Fox's, and Lord Grenville's friends, was concen- 
trated. In the Commons the majority of Government was 
materially reduced, whilst the minority exceeded 200. In 
the Lords the strength of those who would have divided 
against Government, on Lord Stafford's motion, was even 
more seriously formidable, considering the usual temper of 
this assembly. 

Under these circumstances His Majesty's Ministers, 
dubious how long they might be enabled to retain a majority 
in Parliament, and under a strong conviction that against 
such a combination of numbers, talent, and connexion, it 
was no longer to be expected that they could continue to ad- 
minister the Government with that energy and effect which 

' See vol. iii. p. 570, ed. 1837. 


the public interests at such a moment required, were of 
opinion they should best discharge their duty by availing 
themselves of the first occasion which the King's recovery 
afforded them, of advising His Majesty to form an admistra- 
tion ; they were desirous of giving every facility ; whilst they 
were ready, if His Majesty met with insuperable difficulties 
in the formation of such an arrangement as he could recon- 
cile to his own mind, to continue their best exertions in dis- 
charge of their public duty. 

This advice was certainly offered in the confident hope 
that the King would turn his attention to Mr. Pitt ; this 
expectation was not disappointed, and the Lord Chancellor 
was desired by the King to learn Mr. Pitt's sentiments upon 
the formation of a new Government. Mr. Pitt, under the 
present circumstances of the empire, considered it as his duty 
to bring under the King's consideration the expediency of 
forming an arrangement which should embi'ace the leading 
men of all jDarties, as best calculated to keep down factious 
discussions during the war, and to afford the King the repose 
and tranquillity so essential to his health. It is unnecessary 
for me to offer any remarks upon the merits or defects of 
such a plan, whatever might have been the consequences, 
had it been carried into effect : it is enough to know that 
Mr. Pitt proposed it, to be assured that in his conscientious 
judgment it appeared to him the best adapted under all the 
circumstances to promote the public service. In a personal 
interview with the King of three hours, he pressed the pro- 
position upon His Majesty's most serious attention ; the 
result was, an acquiescence on the part of the King in the 
leading men of all parties (Mr. Fox excepted) being included. 

Upon this being made known, Mr. Fox ui'ged his friends 
to lend themselves to the arrangement ; this they declined, un- 
less he was also to hold office; and upon Lord Grenville, 
Lord Spencer, and Mr. Windham being applied to by Mr. 
Pitt, they also refused to accept of office if Mr. Fox was to be 
proscribed. Mr. Pitt having made every effort in the hope 
of disarming hostility to the King's Government, certainly 
having gone much greater lengths than was congenial to the 
feelings and sentiments of a large portion of the public and 
of many of his bast friends ; when he was thus disappointed 
of the aid of those whose services he was anxious to procure 
for the public, in consequence of a decision on the part of the 


King, which it was strictly competent and constitutional for 
him to form, did not a moment hesitate in proceeding to 
submit to His Majesty the best arrangement for the adminis- 
tration of his affairs which his means of selection thus nar- 
rowed would afford. I transmit to your Lordsbip the 
appointments as far as they have hitherto gone ; and if some 
most distmguished names of Mr. Pitt's former connexions, 
not by his, but by their own act, are absent from the list, 
your Lordship will discover no presumable seeds of internal 
discord in the Cabinet which can thwart or impede the full 
exercise of Mr. Pitt's powers. The Government will pro- 
bably have to contend with a very serious opposition, coun- 
tenanced by high authority, and comprehending great ability 
and considerable strength. If Mr. Pitt's health does not 
fail him, it will, I am confident, only rouse him to greater 
and more successful exertions. It is to be seriously lamented 
that wounded feelings and other causes have deprived the 
King at this critical moment of the united services of all 
those who in the last twelve years preserved the country, 
exposed as it has been to unexampled dangers, and it is 
painful to observe Mr. Addington and several valuable men 
withdrawn from the King's service : we must, however, 
trust to time for bringing back feelings and sentiments be- 
tween Mr. Pitt and Mr. Addington to their former state of 
relation ; and I believe at this moment it is the only thing 
really wanting to the King's complete personal satisfaction. 
I am, my dear Lord, &c, Castlereagh. 

The reader will not fail to observe the ominous doubt 
which here in one passage Lord Castlereagh expresses : 
' If Mr. Pitt's health does not fail him.' His health, 
indeed, was already impaired, and was now to be ex- 
posed to no ordinary trial. He was to confront night 
after night the united phalanx of the Foxites and the 
Grenvillites, comprising several of his former colleagues. 
Against such an array it might be questionable how 
long his bodily powers would endure. That doubt was 
certainly another strong argument in favour of a junc- 
tion with Fox. But it was an argument which Pitt, with 
his lofty spirit, did not seek to urge. Not one word 
tending to that point appears to have escaped him at 


that period in any of his representations to the King. 
How happy had it occurred to the King himself, and 
found weight in His Majesty's mind ! 

The difficulties of Pitt at this juncture were much 
increased by the unexpected use that was made of Lord 
Grenville's letter to him of the 8th of May. That letter, 
besides expressing Lord Grenville's own refusal to come 
in without Fox, contained an able argument for the 
union of chief men from all parties — ' an object,' adds 
the letter, ' for which the circumstances of the time 
afford at once so strong an inducement and so favourable 
an occasion.' To Pitt's surprise and regret this private 
communication, commencing ' My dear Pitt,' and end- 
ing ' Most affectionately yours,' was published in • the 
newspapers, and became the manifesto of the new 
Opposition. 1 It was a weapon which Pitt could not 
readily meet with another of the same kind, unless he 
had brought forward into public view the personal 
wishes and feelings of the King. 

Lord Grenville, in the first instance, may have given 
copies of this letter to several of his own and Fox's 
friends ; and there is reason to believe that it was made 
public without his knowledge or authority. Certain it 
is that he had no desire to break with Pitt. On the 
contrary, he availed himself of another transaction, at 
nearly the same period, to express his continued feelings 
of personal regard. But this opportunity will require a 
short detail. 

In 1754 and the following years, Thomas Pitt, after- 
wards the first Lord Camelford, was an undergraduate at 
Cambridge. There he received a series of letters from 
his uncle, afterwards the first Lord Chatham, to guide 
and direct his studies. Such counsels, from so great a 
man, were felt to have especial value. After Lord 
Camelford's death the manuscripts remained in posses- 

1 The letter will be found at length in the Ann. Register for 
1H04, p. 124, and also in the Courts and Cabinets of George III. vol. 
iii. p. 352. 


sion of his widow, and on her decease passed into Lord 
Grenville's hands. In the opinion of that excellent 
judge they did honour to both the parties concerned, 
and would be of interest to the world at large. He 
proposed to publish them if Lord Chatham and Mr. 
Pitt did not object. Lord Chatham approved the idea, 
as Mr. Pitt did also. Lord Grenville accordingly pre- 
pared this little volume for the press, and prefixed to it 
a few most graceful lines of dedication. 

To the Right Hon. W. Pitt. 

Dropmore, Dec. 3, 1803. 
My dear Sir, — When you expressed to me your entire 
concurrence in my Avish to print the following letters, you 
were not apprised that this address would accompany them. 
By you it will, I trust, be received as a testimony of affec- 
tionate friendship. To others the propriety will be obvious 
of inscribing with your name a publication in which Lord 
Chatham teaches how great talents may most successfully be 
cultivated, and to what objects they may most honourably 
be directed. Grenville. 

But though the volume was sent to the press in 
December, 1803, it was not completed by the printers 
until the middle of May ensuing. Then one of the first 
copies was sent to Pitt with a note as follows : — 

Lord Grenville to Mr. Pitt. 

Camelford House, May 16, 1801. 
My dear Pitt, — I send you at last the letters which you 
saw in manuscript last summer. Mr. Payne has taken near 
five months to print about a hundred pages ; but I am not 
displeased at the delay, since it affords me the opportunity 
of sending out the first page in the present circumstances, 
exactly as it stood in December last. I know there is no 
fear of your thinking that political differences (be they more 
or less) will alter in my mind a friendship of more than 
twenty years' standing ; but it is satisfactory to be able to 
testify this feeling publicly. 

Ever most affectionately yours, G. 

P. S. — I send you another copy, that you may, if you 


think it right, take an opportunity of leaving it with the 
King, with such speechification as may be most proper on 
my part. These copies are on large paper, only fifty of 
which are printed for presents : this circumstance affords an 
excuse for the presumption of requesting leave to offer one 
to His Majesty. 

If you think this wrong, return me the copy. 

It is certainly not strange if Mr. Pitt, at the very 
time when he was suffering from the publication of 
Lord Grenville's political letter, did not feel disposed to 
meet the next with the same entire cordiality as the 
writer shows. I have heard that he gave it no answer 
at all, and that Lord Grenville was much offended. 

In a note to Lord Buckingham, written from Drop- 
more only a few days afterwards, we find Lord Gren- 
ville's political bias reappear. * Nothing to be sure can 
be more wretched than the manner in which Pitt is eking 
out his Government with Koses and Dundases. But 
this fine weather leaves one little inclination to come to 
town to do or say anything against it.' l 

Meanwhile, as Lord Grenville intimates, the new 
Ministerial appointments had been in active progress. 
They could only be made from the narrow scope which 
Pitt had deprecated. Pitt himself was of course First 
Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
Of the old Cabinet Ministers six remained in their places ; 
Lord Eldon as Chancellor, the Duke of Portland as 
President of the Council, the Earl of Westmorland as 
Privy Seal, the Earl of Chatham as Master of the Ord- 
nance, and Lord Castlereagh as President of the Board 
of Control. Lord Hawkesbury was also continued as 
Secretary of State, but, rather to his own regret, was 
transferred from the Foreign Department to the Home. 
The new Foreign Secretary was Lord Harrowby — the 
same whose ready elocution and penetrating genius, 
whose large stores of knowledge, and whose keen — 
sometimes perhaps a little caustic — wit, were tried in 

1 Courts and Cabinets of George III. vol. iii. p. 355. 




many subsequent years of office, and were tempted at 
least on one occasion, but in vain, with an offer of the 
Premiership. Surviving - as lie did to an honoured and 
green old age, he yet lives in the attached remembrance 
of many survivors at the present time. 

Continuing the list of Cabinet appointments, we find 
Viscount Melville First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl 
Camden Secretary of State for War and Colonies, Lord 
Mulgrave Chancellor of the Duchy, and the Duke of 
Montrose President of the Board of Trade, and also 
joint Postmaster-General instead of Lord Auckland. 
The new Cabinet, therefore, consisted of twelve persons 
— only one besides Pitt himself, that is Lord Castle- 
reagh, a member of the House of Commons. 

In the appointments beyond the Cabinet, Pitt made 
one or two attempts to enlarge his sphere. He pro- 
posed an office to the second son of his old chief Shel- 
burne. This was Lord Henry Petty, a young man of 
rare promise, who had come in for the borough of Calne. 
The offer was sent him through Mr. Long, but was de- 
clined by Lord Henry, who adhered to the party of Fox. 
It was a refusal of which the consequences extended 
far beyond the time in question. How greatly in after 
years would the party of Pitt have gained, could they 
have reckoned among their leaders the present Marquis 
of Lansdowne ! 

There was also a trial of Tierney. In the debate of 
April 23 he had paid, as we have seen, extraordinary 
court to Pitt, and had seemed ambitious of his favour. 
The sequel is told us in Mr. Rose's Diary : — ' May 14, 
1804. Mr. Tierney had the offer of remaining as Trea- 
surer of the Navy ; he certainly thought Carlton House 
the better speculation.' 

Here is another offer and another refusal, but on en- 
tirely different grounds. ' Pitt has offered the Mint to 
Lord Bathurst, who in the handsomest way begs Pitt to 
bestow it where it may be more useful to the purposes 
of his Government ; that he shall ever act with him ; 



and that he really feels such a very high office is one he 
is by no means entitled to.' So writes Lord Malmes- 
bury. But Pitt, after an interval of time, renewed his 
proposal, and Lord Bathurst was named. 

As finally settled, the principal appointments were 
as follows : — Canning became Treasurer of the Navy, 
in the place of Tierney. William Dundas, a nephew of 
Lord Melville, became Secretary at War, in the place of 
Bragge. The joint Paymasters of the Forces were Rose 
and Lord Charles Somerset, in the place of Hiley 
Addington and Steele ; for Steele, it is to be observed, 
had of late grown to be at variance with his early 
friend. The two Secretaries of the Treasury were Hus- 
kisson and Sturges Bourne, in the place of Vansittart 
and Sargent. 

The Government of Ireland was left for the present 
as it stood, except as to the Secretary, Wickham, who 
retired on account of ill health, and was succeeded by 
Sir Evan Nepean. Nor was there any change in the 
Law departments of either country. 

It was on the 11th that Mr. Perceval received, 
through Lord Harrowby, the proposal to continue At- 
torney-General. Before he would accept he required a 
distinct assurance upon several points, and above all, 
that Mr. Fox was to be no part of the administration. 
On this point he was answered, says Mr. Abbot, 'that 
Mr. Fox was certainly not a member of the new ad- 
ministration, but there was no undertaking that he 
never would be ; and on this the Attorney-General 
closed, distinctly stating that therefore his own accept- 
ance must be as conditional as was the offer.' ' 

Canning also had his doubts and scruples. He did 
not indeed aspire to any of the higher posts. ' For 
myself,' he said to Lord Malmesbury, ' I had rather 
take no office at all. As to a Cabinet office, I think 
that my taking one would be injurious both to my- 
self and Pitt. To myself because the public would 
1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 512. 




evidently look upon me as not yet ripe for it ; to Pitt 
because the same public would consider it as a mark of 
partiality and personal favour. Against this, therefore, 
I protest.' Finally, as we have seen, Canning became 
Treasurer of the Navy; but he greatly lamented the 
exclusion of Fox and Grrenville from the public service, 
and condemned the admission into the Cabinet of Mul- 
grave and Montrose. 

As his Private Secretary, the new Prime Minister 
named Mr. William Dacres Adams, son of one of the 
members for Totness. The choice of Mr. Adams was 
made on the recommendation of Mr. Long, and was 
fully justified by his ability and attachment to the end 
of his chiefs career. Mr. Adams was afterwards Private 
Secretary to the Duke of Portland ; he has filled several 
other official posts ; and he is still living in retirement 
at his seat in Sydenham. To his kindness I owe the 
communication of many interesting particulars and im- 
portant manuscripts. 

There were also at this time divers changes in the 
Royal Household, which it is not very necessary to ex- 
amine in detail. The Earl of Dartmouth succeeded the 
Marquis of Salisbury as Lord Chamberlain. Lord John 
Thynne succeeded the Right Hon. Charles Greville as 
Vice-Chamberlain. This Mr. Gfreville was a veteran 
who had been named to a political office, rather to 
the public surprise, a quarter of a century before. In 
1796 some one chanced to ask Pitt how so tiresome a 
man had come to be a Privy Councillor. ' It was by 
dint of solicitation, I suppose,' said Pitt, in a laughing 
mood. ' For my own part, I would rather at any time 
have made him a Privy Councillor than have talked to 
him ! ' ' 

During all these days the mental state of the King 
continued to be a matter of anxiety. Mr. Pitt had 
noticed some increase of agitation in his second inter- 
view of the 10th of May ; but when His Majesty found 

1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 75. 
k 2 


tbat the administration was practically forming in the 
manner that he wished, he was satisfied and soothed. 
On the 12th he told the Duke of Portland that, now, 
he and Pitt met like old friends who had never parted. 
' It seems certain,' adds Lord Malmesbury, * that what 
has passed, far from hurting the King, seems to have 
relieved him.' 

On the 16th, however, the Chancellor and Pitt felt 
it their duty to transmit a joint representation to His 
Majesty, earnestly entreating him to avoid all unneces- 
sary causes of excitement, and to comply with the rules 
which his physicians had enjoined. I do not find that 
the King made any answer to this joint request ; but on 
the 18th, when the political arrangements were almost 
completed, he addressed the Chancellor as follows : — 

The King to Lord Eldon. 

Queen's Palace, May 18, 1804. 

The King having signed the Commission for giving his 
Royal Assent, returns it to his excellent Lord Chancellor, 
whose conduct he most thoroughly approves. His Majesty 
feels the difficulties he has had, both political and personal 
to the King; but the uprightness of Lord Eldon's mind, and 
his attachment to the King, have borne him with credit and 
honour, and (what the King knows will not be without its 
due weight) with the approbation of his Sovereign, through 
an unpleasant labyrinth. 

The King saw Mr. Addington yesterday. Mr. Adding- 
ton spoke with his former warmth of friendship for the Lord 
Chancellor ; he seems to require quiet, as his mind is per- 
plexed between returning affection for Mr. Pitt, and great 
soreness at the contemptuous treatment he met with, the end 
of last Session, from one he had ever looked upon as his pri- 
vate friend. This makes the King resolve to keep them for 
some time asunder. George R. 

In conversation with the Duke of Portland a few 
days later, we learn that the King called the Grenvilles 
1 the brotherhood,' and said they must always either 
govern despotically or oppose violently. The Duke told 


Lord Malmesbury that he had little doubt of the King 
doing well. Quiet would set him right, and nothing 
else. Not quite so sanguine was Mrs. Harcourt, who 
came to see Lord Malmesbury the next day. She said 
that the King was apparently quite well when speaking 
to his Ministers, or to those who kept him a little in 
awe, but that to his family and dependents his language 
was incoherent and harsh, quite unlike his usual cha- 
racter. He had made capricious changes everywhere, 
from the Lord Chamberlain to the grooms and footmen, 
He had turned away the Queen's favourite coachman, 
made footmen grooms, and vice versa; and, what was 
still worse, because more notorious, had removed Lords 
of the Bedchamber without a shadow of reason. All 
this, said Mrs. Harcourt, afflicts the Koyal Family 
beyond measure. The Princesses are quite sinking 
under it. 

The 27th of May, on which Lord Malmesbury wrote 
these last entries in his journal, supplied another proof 
that even a mere trifle might still throw the King's 
mind from off its balance. Going down to Windsor on 
the 26th, his carriage was followed some way, and loudly 
cheered, by a party of Eton boys. This had such an 
effect upon His Majesty, that when he met a different 
party of the boys next morning, he said to them, ' I 
have always been partial to your school. I have now 
the additional motive of gratitude for being so. In 
future I shall be an anti-Westminster.' 

Yet Mr. Hose, from whom we derive this story, 
declares that when, on the 5th of June, he attended a 
Council to kiss the King's hand on his appointment — - 
which was the first time he had seen His Majesty since 
his recovery — 'the King spoke to me for about ten 
minutes, and I never saw him more entirely composed 
and collected ; if anything, less hurried in his manner 
than usual.' 




Charge against Messrs. Drake and Spencer Smith — Execution of 
the Duke d'Enghien— The First Consul proclaimed Emperor of 
the French— Pitt's projected Continental alliances— Overtures 
of Mr. Livingston — Pitt's Memorandum — Wilberforce's renewed 
motion on the Slave Trade — Proclamation prohibiting the Trade 
in the conquered Colonies — Pitt's Additional Force Bill — Vote 
of Credit — Pitt's measures of Defence— Criticisms of Lord Gren- 
ville and Fox — Napoleon's Plan of Invasion— The Catamarans — 
Successful operations of the British out of Europe — Battles of 
Assye and Argaum — War with Spain — Seizure of the Treasure 
Ships — Pitt's notes on the War, Germany, and Napoleon — At- 
tempted reconciliation between the King and the Prince of 
"Wales — Case of Lord Auckland. 

On the 18th of May Mr. Pitt took his seat in the House 
of Commons, on his re-election. Keen debates and 
weighty business, foreign and domestic, claimed at once 
his care. 

As regards the Continent, the rumours of immediate 
invasion had been rather fainter for some time past. 
There was reason to believe that the spirit of our people 
and the magnitude of our armaments had caused the 
enemy to pause in his designs. There was reason to 
believe that the name of Pitt, as restored to our national 
councils, would be a further earnest of our energy and 
resolution. Still, however, the camp at Boulogne was 
not raised ; the flotilla of boats was not dispersed. Such 
considerations of the internal state of England, so far 
as they wrought at all with the First Consul, merely 
inclined him to some more delay. Meanwhile he might 
consolidate his already unresisted power; meanwhile 
he might augment his already gigantic preparations; 
and meanwhile any interval of false security amongst 
ourselves might perhaps be seized as the fittest moment 
for a sudden enterprise. It therefore behoved us on no 
account to falter in our naval or military measures. 


It may be added, that the First Consul at this very 
period showed an aggravation of his hostile feelings. 
He accused the English Government of having taken 
part in plots for his assassination, while in truth their 
object was only, as in war it might justly be, the over- 
throw of his authority. He allowed this grievous charge 
of intended assassination to be not only made, but pub- 
lished in two Reports to him from the Grand Juge, 
the Minister of Justice. 1 It was levelled especially 
against Mr. Francis Drake, Minister from England at 
Munich, and Mr. Spencer Smith, the Minister from 
England at Stuttgart. Nor did the French Govern- 
ment rest, until, by its overweening influence with those 
smaller Courts, it effected the public expulsion of our 
diplomatic agents. 

In the contest as renewed with France we had been 
thus far single-handed. But besides the return of Pitt 
to power, several events which had recently occurred 
were tending to a renewal of concert and alliance with 
the great European Powers. Foremost among these 
events was the mournful tragedy of the Duke d'Enghien. 
Seized at night by a party of French soldiers on the 
neutral ground of Baden, the young Prince had been 
conveyed to the Donjon de Vincennes, tried by a Mili- 
tary Commission, and executed on the 21st of March 
before daybreak in the castle fosse. A thrill of deep 
commiseration ran through all Europe at the news. * I 
do not think,' says M. Thiers, 'that I am departing 
from the strictest truth if I say that this catastrophe 
was the main cause of a third general war.' 2 

Another cause of a very different kind was the re- 
establishment of monarchy in France. On the 18th of 
Ma}', after some preliminary steps in various quarters, 
and above all, a Decree of the Senate, the First Consul 
was solemnly proclaimed Sovereign of the French, by 

1 See these documents, translated in the Annual Register, 1804, 
pp. 619-627. 

2 Hist, dii Consulat et de VEmpire, vol. v. p. 2. 


the title of the Emperor Napoleon. At first sight this 
might appear a matter concerning France alone ; but the 
private correspondence of the period shows how greatly 
the change was resented in the other Continental Courts. 
So long as Napoleon had been the chief of a Kepublic, 
the Sovereign Princes of Europe were willing to draw, 
as they well might, a most favourable contrast between 
him and the sanguinary. or incapable chiefs who had gone 
before him since the execution of Louis the Sixteenth. 
They acknowledged his genius, and they desired his 
good will. But when he took his place among them- 
selves — when he sought to found a dynasty not inferior 
to the loftiest of their own — their pride of rank was 
roused, and they viewed his elevation with an enmity 
which only their fears concealed. 

In his endeavours to frame anew a system of concert 
with the great European Powers, Pitt was at this time 
most effectively aided by Lord Harrowby. That able 
man, who knew the value of good counsel, used often to 
call and talk over his business with Lord Malmesbury. 
He laid before the experienced diplomatist the accounts 
of the several Courts which his late despatches gave. 
' Austria,' said Lord Harrowby, ' is not yet recovered 
from her panic. Of Berlin I think rather less unfavour- 
ably than you might suppose. But Russia is the Court 
most likely to be brought into action. ... On the 
whole, however, till the invasion is either attempted or 
laid aside, it is not probable the Continent will stir.' 

' But,' said Lord Malmesbury, ' if we succeed in 
resisting it, it is still most material to form Continental 
connexions and alliances, since without them Europe 
never can be restored to a situation of security against 

Athwart these warlike preparations came one faint 
gleam of peace. Mr. Livingston, Minister from the 
United States to France, arrived in London. All his 
leanings were to Fox, all his overtures to that states- 
man. But Fox thought it his duty to lay before the 


Government the information which he had thus received. 
Accompanied by Grey, he called upon Pitt in Downing 
Street, on the 5th of June. Immediately after they 
had taken leave, Pitt put down in writing what had 
passed, for the information of his colleagues. 


June 5, 1804. 
The purport of the communication made me by Mr. Fox 
and Mr. Grey was, that Mr. Livingston had expressed to 
them his opinions respecting the possibility of peace between 
this country and France. That he had taken particular 
care to disclaim having any authority or commission on the 
subject, but that his opinions were chiefly founded on con- 
versations with Joseph Bonaparte some time since, and more 
recently with Talleyrand and Maillebois. From Joseph 
Bonaparte he had only collected generally that there was a 
disposition in the French Government to peace. From the 
two others he understood that the French Government 
would expect some arrangement about Malta, such as had 
been before proposed — probably its being garrisoned by 
Russia ; and that on the point of our relinquishing it they 
would not give way ; but that they should be ready to con- 
sent to withdrawing their troops from Switzerland and Hol- 
land, and to provide for the independence of both those 
countries by the guarantee of other Powers, and that guar- 
antee as general as possible, and that they would also agree 
to the restoration of Hanover. That some idea had been 
mentioned of some guarantee in return against our making 
further acquisitions in India ; but Mr. Fox observed that it 
had not been explained what Power there was that could 
enter into any such guarantee, and rather hinted that he 
imagined on that account they might not mean fai^her se- 
curity than our assurances of a system of moderation. They 
added, to questions which I put, that nothing had been 
said with respect to providing for the security of Holland or 
Switzerland, by any arrangement for the defence of either in 
the first instance, by fortresses or auxiliary troops, or by 
anything beyond the guarantee suggested ; but Mr. Grey 
stated that he understood the basis proposed was to provide 
for their independence, and that the mode of doing so would, 
he conceived, be considered as matter of subsequent discussion. 


They further added, that Mr. Livingston understood that 
it would be expected that the first overture of a disposi- 
tion to treat would be made either directly or indirectly on 
our part ; and that they would be extremely disposed to re- 
ceive it, and that the present moment (with a view to Bona- 
parte's new dignity) was thought a favourable one. That 
they had mentioned to Mr. Livingston that the detention of 
the English in France might be one obstacle to any such 
overture ; and that Mr. L. had expressed a strong opinion 
(but merely as an opinion of his own, and not founded on 
his conversations) that on any indication of a favourable dis- 
position here towards an overture, they would be glad to 
take the opportunity of releasing the prisoners, as their de- 
tention was generally disapproved in France. 

Mr. Fox also said that in the course of the conversation 
Mr. Livingston had expressed a great readiness to do any- 
thing in his power towards facilitating a negotiation, and 
thought himself capable of being of considerable use. Mr. 
Fox rather intimated a belief that the object of Mr. L. com- 
ing here was to bring about some explanation, and that it 
was generally supposed to be so in France ; and he seemed 
to think that he possibly was prepared to have said more if 
he had found the administration here composed as he per- 
haps expected when he left France. I thanked Mr. Fox 
and Mr. Grey for the communication, without expressing 
any opinion on any part of it, and only informed them that 
I should report what they had told me to the King's 
Ministers. W. P. 

' For my part,' said Air. Pitt to Rose, ' I think no 
good consequences can result from this communication. 
If France had really any serious intention of putting 
an end to the war, the new Emperor would have found 
some less exceptionable channel of communication than 
through a man whose hostile disposition to this country 
has been so strongly and so lately manifested. His 
public character at that Court, too, makes him an unfit 
instrument for the purpose.' ' The doubts of Mr. Pitt 
on this occasion seem to have been most justly founded. 

1 Diaries of Mr. Rose, vol. ii. p. 151. 


No good consequence ensued ; and the overture of 
Mr. Livingstone was only, I conceive, a Will of the 

Let me now revert to the ' sayings and doings ' in 
the House of Commons. No sooner was Pitt again 
installed in office than Wilberforce gave notice of 
renewing his motion on the Slave Trade. From 1792 
to 1800 the cause of Abolition had lost ground. P"rom 
1800 to 1804 it had seemed to slumber. Of that retro- 
cession the main cause had been the ferment of Kevo- 
lutionary France, and the fears which ensued in 
England. Of that quiescence the main cause had been 
the hostility of the Addington Cabinet, which, on this 
point, as on several others, faithfully represented the 
feelings of the King. But besides the auspicious change 
from Addington to Pitt, there were now other favour- 
able indications. Several of the West Indian merchants 
and planters began themselves to talk of Abolition. 
They were afraid of the cultivation of sugar in Deme- 
rara and the other Dutch colonies. Under this dread 
they signified to Wilberforce that they would no longer 
oppose Abolition as a trial — as a three years' or a five 
years' Suspension of the Trade. 

Wilberforce, thus appealed to, took a moderate and 
highly honourable part. ' I can, of course,' he said, 
4 consent to no compromise, but I shall rejoice in 
Africa having such a breathing-time.' Accordingly, on 
the 30th of May he entreated the House of Commons 
to consider a Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade 
within a time to be limited. Addington declared that 
he should oppose the Bill even thus curtailed, not 
because he thought it unjust, but because he thought 
it impracticable. ' If,' said Pitt, * the motion were for 
the immediate abolition of the Slave Trade, I should 
have no hesitation in giving it my warmest support, 
because I think the first moment for abolishing that 
inhuman traffic would be the best. Nevertheless, I am 
ready to support any proposal that can bring nearer to 


us that desirable event. I shall feel satisfaction in any 
measure that tends even to a gradual abolition.' 

The main body of the West Indians and of the 
King's friends was still against Wilber force's scheme. 
But on the other hand its limited scope many 
new friends, and on a first division it was carried by 124 
votes against 49. 

More debates, however, and more divisions ensued on 
the succeeding stages. Earl Temple, the eldest nephew 
of Lord Grenville, took a forward part in opposing the 
Bill, of which Lord Grenville was to have charge when- 
ever it reached the House of Lords. ' The abolition of 
the Trade in Slaves,' he cried, ' will seal the death- 
warrant of every white man in the West Indies.' ' I 
say,' answered Pitt, ' that the death-warrant would be 
the continuance of the traffic. I would ask any man 
who understands this subject, what he would expect to 
be the result of that continuance for ten years?' 1 

With every exertion on the part of Wilberforce and 
of his friends, the Bill did not pass the Commons until 
the close of June. Then the lateness of the season, and 
the necessity, according to the practice of the Peers, to 
examine evidence, afforded a strong ground for post- 
ponement. There was a debate with good speeches 
from Lord Hawkesbury and Lord Grenville, and an 
extreme one from Lord Stanhope. But there was no 
division. Wilberforce took the advice which was 
equally tendered him by Bishop Porteus, by Lord 
Grenville, and by Pitt. He agreed to defer the 
question until the following year. 

Meantime it seemed to Mr. Pitt that a blow might 
be dealt at this abominable traffic by the mere autho- 
rity of the Crown. The interposition of Parliament was 
not needed in the colonies which we had conquered 
from the Dutch. In these it might be possible to pro- 
hibit the Slave Trade simply by a Royal Proclamation. 
' Pitt very strong on this, and against any vote of Par- 

1 Pari. Debates, vol. ii. p. 551. 


liament,' says Wilberforce, in his Diary of the 3rd of 
July. Wilberforce therefore refrained from stirring 
that point in the House of Commons. But from the 
multitude of private interests involved, the question 
proved less clear than was at first supposed. In 
November Lord Harrowby wrote to Wilberforce : ' I am 
hardly sure that I am not a perjured Privy Councillor 
in telling you that the Order about Surinam and all 
other conquered colonies was actually on the list of 
Council business on Thursday last.' Nevertheless some 
further delays ensued, and it was not until next year 
that the promised Proclamation was issued. 

Immediately on the return of Pitt to office, he had 
anxiously applied himself to prepare and produce a 
measure for the public defence — the Additional Force 
Bill, as it was called. He gave notice of it for the 1st 
of June, but desiring still more time to mature its 
details, he deferred it till the 5th. It was the very day 
on which he held his conference with Fox and Grey in 
Downing Street. Thence proceeding to the House of 
Commons, he unfolded at full length his very compre- 
hensive scheme. The outline of it he had already given 
as a private member of Parliament in his speech of the 
25th of April. He desired above all things to remove 
the difficulties which stood in the way of recruiting for 
the regular army, by putting an end to the competition 
which prevailed between those who recruited for a 
limited term and those who recruited for the general 
service. Out of this competition a system of enormous 
bounties had arisen. But he would not be satisfied 
merely to do away these obstacles. He desired to 
create a new additional force that should be a perma- 
nent foundation for a regular increase of the army. 
There was at present ^he said) a deficiency of nearly 
nine thousand men in the number appointed to be 
raised under the Army of Eeserve Bill. It would be 
his first object to complete that number. His next 
would be to reduce the Militia, which had grown to 


seventy-four thousand men, to its ancient establishment 
of forty thousand for England and eight thousand for 
Scotland. The remainder, and what was then deficient 
of the number voted, he wished to he transferred to the 
additional force. This he conceived would lay the 
foundation for a permanent establishment which would 
yield twelve thousand recruits annually to the regular 
army. The disadvantage of the Army of Reserve Act 
at present was, that its severe penalties caused such 
high bounties to be given for substitutes. He therefore 
wished to make the ballot less burthensome on indivi- 
duals, and both to encourage, and, in some cases, oblige 
the parishes to find the number of men that was 
assigned as their proportion. If the parishes failed, he 
wished to impose on them a certain and moderate fine, 
to go into the general recruiting fund. The new force 
he would propose to be raised for five years, to be joined 
to the regular army in the way of second battalions, 
and not to be liable to be called out for foreign service, 
but to act both as an auxiliary force to the army at 
home and as a stock from which the army could be 
recruited. The plan would have the further effect of 
rendering the regular army far more capable of becom- 
ing a disposable force for any distant enterprise. 

No sooner was Pitt's scheme unfolded than all three 
parties unconnected with the Government combined 
against it. Their three spokesmen in the House of 
Commons — Windham, Fox, and Addington — all rose 
on the very first night and stated their decided objec- 
tions. * I do not know,' said Fox, ' whether I shall 
gain any credit from the House, or from the Right Hon. 
Gentleman, in what I am going to say. But I can 
assure them that I have endeavoured, by every effort 
and consideration I was able to apply to the subject, to 
impress my own mind with a favourable idea of the 
Bill.' In these efforts, as Fox went on to explain, he 
had not succeeded. 

The Second Reading of the Bill was taken on the 

1804 DIVISIONS. 255 

8th of June. An eager debate which then arose was 
continued till half-past two in the morning. Then the 
House divided, when the numbers were — 

For the Second Reading . . .221 
Against it . . . . . .181 

Majority ... 40 

On the 11th there was another keen debate, and 
another anxious division. 

For the Speaker's leaving the Chair . 219 
Against it . . . . . .169 

Majority ... 50 

And on the 15th again a debate, with two divisions 
taken on points of form and partly by surprise. With 
the Government there were in the last 214. Against it 
186. Thus the majority on that night was reduced to 

The three parties in Opposition were now in high 
spirits. They fully hoped that Pitt might be thrust out 
of office before his hold upon it was confirmed. Another 
division on the Bill was announced for Monday the 
18th, and meanwhile the three parties made all possible 
exertions to recruit their ranks. It will be seen from 
the following note, that similar exertions were by no 
means wanting on the Ministerial side. 

Duke of Portland to Mr. Pitt. 

Sunday evening, June 17, 180-1. 

Dear Sir, — I am very sorry to trouble you with such 
stuff at all, but more so when it cannot but be dissatisfac- 
tory, and will add to a species of trouble which you ought 
never to know. 

I very much fear that Mellish will vote against you to- 
morrow. He was shut out on Friday, but I have too much 
reason to think that he came down with views of opposition. 
I have done all I can with respect to Mr. Moore, Lord F. 


Spencer, and Sir H. Dashwood. Mr. Long wrote to me 
about Monckton and Dawkins : I am sure the first will 
come if be is able, and the latter I have desired to call upon 
me to-morrow morning. 

Sincerely yours ever, Portland. 

Next day, with an immense throng of Members, the 
expected debate commenced. As the Speaker reports it, 
Addington spoke against the Bill at eleven, Sheridan 
against it at twelve, Pitt for it at one, and Fox against it 
at half-past two. But of all the speakers that night, 
none attracted more applause than Canning, who spoke 
earlier than all these. Without at all denying his 
regret that Grenville and Fox were not included among 
the colleagues of the new Prime Minister, he inveighed 
with great energy against the course which Addington 
was pursuing, and against the words which Lord Temple 
had used. He said : ' I fairly and candidly avow that 
I give the Right Hon. gentleman (Mr. Addington) 
credit for the systematic opposition which he com- 
menced against His Majesty's Government the moment 
he left His Majesty's councils. I am glad to see an 
inefficient administration atoned for by a vigorous 
opposition. And here I wish to take notice of an 
expression made use of by a Noble Lord (Temple), as 
if my Right Hon. friend (Mr. Pitt) had been a mere 
accession to the former Ministry, without any change 
having taken place. I shall content myself here with 
vindicating my own consistency. I objected to the 
administration of Foreign Affairs, and that has been 
changed. I objected to the Naval administration, and 
that has been changed. I objected to the Military 
administration, and that has been changed. I also 
objected to the general superintendence of the whole, and 
that has been changed. In objecting to the inefficiency 
of the late Ministers, I was joined by nearly all those 
who are now in opposition. The Noble Lord has fur- 
ther said that the public were disappointed in the for- 
mation of the present Ministry ; amongst that public 


I candidly confess that no man was more disappointed 
than myself.' 

Not only Addington but all his followers were greatly 
stung by the words ' systematic opposition. 1 Addington, 
as it chanced, was out of the House at the moment, but 
Mr. Bragge (who, from an estate which he inherited, had 
now assumed the further name of Bat hurst) rose imme- 
diately after Canning and protested against the phrase. 
So also did Addington himself when he spoke later. At 
half-past three in the morning the House divided with 
the following result : — 

For the Bill 265 

Against it . . . <. . . 223 

Majority . . .42 

It may be noticed of this hard won majority of 42, 
that it was little larger than the last on which Ad- 
dington had resigned. Yet, under the circumstances of 
Pitt's recent accession to power, and of the fact that 
many Members were already pledged to the military 
measures of the last administration, it was thought not 
unsatisfactory. It proved decisive, not only of the Bill, 
but of the Session. The Bill passed the House of Lords 
after a keen debate and a division, in which of the Peers 
present 84 said Content, and 50 Not Content. The 
Session was prolonged, not by further party struggles, 
but by the ordinary course of public business. On the 
7th of July Mr. Pitt brought down a Message from the 
King, ' desirous that this House will enable him to take 
all such measures as may be necessary to disappoint or 
defeat any enterprise or design of his enemies, and as 
the exigencies of affairs may require.' These words 
proved to be a Parliamentary circumlocution for a Vote 
of Credit. It was granted accordingly, and without 
debate, to the extent of 2,500,000/. for Great Britain, 
and of 800,000/. for Ireland. About one-half of the 
former sum would be required for payments already due. 

vol. in. S 


There were del its upon the Civil List to the extent of 
above 500,000?. There was a deficiency in the Navy 
Estimates to the extent of 320,000L There was an 
additional expense of 160,000?. attending Volunteer 
Corps, from the clays of exercise having been increased, 
and from so great a number (one hundred and seventy 
thousand men) having been called out on permanent 
duty. But, as Pitt observed, after these and other 
deductions, then 1 would still remain a sum of about 
1,300.000?. applicable to any emergencies that might 

The Session was further prolonged by a Bill upon 
the Corn Trade, which had been sent up from the 
Commons and which came back from the Lords. 
There, in opposing it on the general principle, Earl 
Stanhope stood alone. But there some amendments 
in detail were made, which it was feared might trench 
upon the Commons' privileges. On these Mr. Pitt went 
to consult with the Speaker. 'We agreed,' says the last, 
' that the Lords' Amendments must be laid aside, and a 
new Bill brought in, which being for money, trade, &c, 
must go through all the regular stages, and would cost 
one week's more sitting for Parliament.' Such were the 
sacrifices then willingly endured upon a point of form. 

The Session having thus been protracted to a date 
most unusual at that period, was closed on the 31st of 
July by a Speech from the King. ' His Majesty,' so 
the Speaker notes, ' looked extremely well, and read 
the Speech with great animation, but accidentally 
turned over two leaves together, and so omitted about 
one-fourth of li is intended Speech. It happened, how- 
ever,that the transition was not incoherent, and if escaped 
some of the Cabinet who had heard it before the King 
delivered it.' 

At this time the King not only looked, but was in 
fact quite well. To confirm his recovery lie set out 
with flic Queen and Princesses to pass the autumn at 


No such relaxation was in store for Pitt at Walmer 
Castle. We find letters from him dated Downing 
Street in the very middle of September. 1 Under his 
master-guidance active measures of defence were every- 
where in progress. Martello towers — so called, accord- 
ing to Mr. Windham, from a place of that name in 
Corsica 2 — rose at intervals along the southern coast. 
A defensive canal and dyke of great strength were 
drawn across the plain from Hythe. 3 The chief direc- 
tion of such measures might be nominally vested in 
Lord Chatham, but in truth it devolved on Mr. Pitt. 
He could seldom be spared from London during more 
than two or three days, and even these days of absence 
were for the most part employed in reviews and inspec- 

On this last point I notice with regret a passage in 
one of Lord Grenville's most familiar letters, which, if 
he could have been consulted, I do not think that he 
would have chosen to make public. He writes as fol- 
lows to Lord Buckingham, August 25th, 1804: 'Can 
anything equal the ridicule of Pitt riding about from 
Downing Street to Wimbledon, and from Wimbledon 
to Cox Heath, to inspect military carriages, impregnable 
batteries, and Lord Chatham's reviews ? Can he pos- 
sibly be serious in expecting Bonaparte now ? ' Exactly 
similar to this was the opinion of Fox expressed exactly 
a year afterwards. He writes to Grrey, August 28, 1805 : 
' The alarm of invasion here was most certainly a 
groundless one, and raised for some political purpose by 
the Ministers.' 

it is certainly not a little strange to find the most 
eminent men out of office in England so completely 
deluded and deceived, as I will presently show, on the 

1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 524. 

'-' Pari. //is/, vol. i. New Series, p. 173. 

:( See tlie disparaging letter from the first Lord Ellenborough, 
inserted in Lord Sid month's Life (vol. ii. p. 306). This work was 
to extend for thirty-six miles, of which in October, 1N0.">, fourteen 
were completed. 

s 2 


true designs of the Government in France. But why, 
in the first place, should Pitt be deemed deserving of 
ridicule for his cares on that account ? When the spirit 
of the people was once roused, could he do better than 
still further to animate that spirit by his presence ? 
When the funds for the national armament had been 
voted by the House of Commons, could he do better 
than see with his own eyes that they were duly and 
properly applied ? No doubt the pursuits of a library or 
garden may be more delightful. No doubt it may be 
pleasanter to pass one's time as Lord Grenville says that 
he passed his. 

' You will find me here very peaceably rolling my 
walks, and watering my rhododendrons, without any 
thought of the new possessor to whom Bonaparte may 
dispose them.' Such were the words of Grenville, writing 
to his brother from Dropmore, April 12, 1803. Like 
these also were his words October 26 the same year: ' I 
can hardly help wondering at my own folly in thinking 
it wortli while to leave my books and gardens even for 
one day's attendance in the House of Lords.' 

The greatest respect is due to the memory of a man 
so able and so accomplished as was Lord Grenville. 
Nor are the employments of either the scholar or the 
horticulturist to be lightly esteemed. But we must ac- 
knowledge the far different responsibilities of a statesman 
out of office, and of a Minister placed at the head of 
public affairs in the midst of a perilous war. 

But further still it is a striking fact that the period 
when Lord Grenville thought it so ridiculous to expect 
the coming of Napoleon was the very period at which 
Napoleon had absolutely determined to come. This fact 
is placed beyond all question by the French archives. 
' This fact,' says M. Thiers, ' has been sometimes doubted, 
but can he doubted no longer by any one who sees as I 
have seen several thousand official letters which all 
combine to the same point." It may be added that 

1 il,,t du Consulat >t de VEvipire, vol. v. p. 467. 

1804 napoleon's PLAN OF INVASION. 26*1 

several of the secret letters from Napoleon to Deere?, 
Ministre de la Mari/ne, and from Decres to Napoleon, 
are interspersed by M. Thiers in the course of his own 
most interesting narrative. 

Napoleon then had fully fixed his plan, although 
imparting it to as few persons as possible, since he well 
knew that secrecy must be one main condition of success. 
He would attempt the invasion of our Kentish shores on 
some day in the month of August. With this purpose 
he repaired to Boulogne on the 20th of July, and took 
on himself the chief command. But he did not rely 
solely on the vast army or on the vast flotilla there 
assembled. To combine with their enterprise he had 
framed another project well worthy of his genius. It 
was of the highest importance that when they began to 
cross the Channel they should be protected by a large, 
and, if possible, a superior French fleet. Now, there 
were eighteen ships of the line at Brest under Admiral 
Ganteaume, but these the English held blockaded. There 
were five ships of the line at Rochefort under Admiral 
Villeneuve, but these also the English held blockaded. 
Toulon, on the contrary, from its greater distance, was 
less suspected, and from its position could not be so 
closely watched. Here there were eight, and would be 
soon ten ships of the line. With these a skilful and 
intrepid seaman — and such was Latouche Treville, to 
whom Napoleon had assigned the high task — might sally 
forth in the direction of Egypt, and allow a rumour to 
prevail that he intended the reconquest of that country, 
But, on the contrary, turning short through the Straits 
of Gibraltar, he might suddenly appear first before 
Rochefort, and then before Brest, rally to himself the 
squadron of Villeneuve and the fleet of Ganteaume, and 
then with all the ships combined sail straight to Bou- 
logne. It seemed certain that for two or three days at 
least the English would not be able to oppose to them 
an equal force ; and during these two or three days the 
descent might be fully made. ' Let us be masters of the 


Channel for six hours, and we are masters of the world !' 
Such are Napoleon's own words in a secret letter t<> 
Latouche Treville, dated the 2nd of July. ' 

Here then was the whole of this most able plan 
decided and matured. Nothing was changed in it, 
except only that Napoleon, on a view of the works at 
Boulogne, thought a little further time desirable for their 
completion, and postponed the period for the enterprise 
from August to September. Napoleon was then in 
negotiation with the Court of Rome. He carried his 
point that His Holiness should prepare to come to Fiance 
and to crown him Emperor at the shrine of Notre Dame. 
But he requested that the journey might be deferred 
until November, by which time he anticipated his own 
return in triumph from his English expedition. 

Napoleon also directed M. Denon, then at the head 
of the French Mint, to prepare a medal in commemora- 
tion of his expected conquest. The die being made 
accordingly, was ready to be used in London, but owing 
to the course of events it was subsequently broken. 
Only three medals struck from it now, as I have heard, 
remain, two in France and one in England. There has 
been, however, an imitation cast, and of these copies I 
have two in bronze. The medal bears on one side the 
usual head of the Emperor crowned with laurel. On 
the reverse Hereules appears lifting up and crushing in 
his arms the monster Antaeus ; the motto being Descente 
en Anfjleterre, and below in smaller letters Fvappe a 
Londres en 1804. 

All preparations, even down to the medal, being 
made, Napoleon sent to Admiral Latouche Treville his 
final orders to put to sea. But a mightier power forbade 
it. Latouche Treville fell sick, and on the 20th of 
August died. There was no second officer of that fleet 
in the secret of the intended expedition. There was no 
longer at Toulon either the head to direct, or the hand 
to execute. After some doubt and hesitation a personal 

1 77ders, v..]. v. p. 18J). 

1804 THE 'CATAMARANS.' 20.3 

friend of Decres, Admiral Villeneuve from Rochefort, 
was named to the vacant post. The critical moment, 
however, had already passed. No sufficient time re- 
mained that summer to imbue the new chief with the 
necessary knowledge both of the details of the fleet to 
which he was appointed, and of the difficult operations 
which he was required to command. 

Under such circumstances Napoleon with whatever 
disappointment felt it necessary to postpone, and, indeed, 
to new-model his plans. He left the expedition from 
Boulogne to another year, and meanwhile turned his 
thoughts to another object of scarcely less importance to 
his dynasty, and which until even the last moment was 
fraught with obstacles — his coronation as Emperor by 
the head of the Catholic Church. 

Meanwhile the English arms were not inactive. In 
May a dash was made by Sir Sidney Smith before 
Ostend. He sought, but without success, to prevent the 
junction of a small part of the enemy's flotilla from 
Flushing. In July some of the outlying boats at Bou- 
logne were attacked by Captain Owen of the Immortalite 
frigate ; and in August some at Havre by Captain Oliver 
of the Melpomene. Neither of these officers could report 
more than a very slight achievement. But in October 
there ensued an enterprise of much loftier pretensions. 
Ofreat hopes had been formed at the Admiralty of certain 
vessels which were filled with combustibles, and called 
Catamarans. These were to be towed close under the 
enemy's gun-boats, and there to explode in a given time. 
To try this great experiment, Lord Keith, with his 
squadron, appeared off the coast of Boulogne. It was 
said by some persons who did not calculate the distance 
that Mr. Pitt and others of the Ministry would be 
witnesses to this exploit from the ramparts of Walmer 
Castle. 1 

On the 2nd of October, then, the attempt was made. 
Seeing about one hundred and fifty of the enemy's 

1 Ann. Register, 1804, p. 142. 


flotilla outside the pier, Lord Keith directed the Cata- 
marans against them. Twelve in succession were sent 
forward and exploded, but without the slightest mischief 
to the enemy's ships or batteries. Our smaller vessels 
in advance could withdraw in perfect order, and without 
the loss of a single man. The French, on their part, 
acknowledged the loss of twenty-five in killed and 
wounded. But such was the sole result of an experi- 
ment on which the public in England had been taught 
to build, and had built, the most towering hopes. 

Out of Europe we had better fortune. In the West 
Indies we reduced the Dutch settlement of Surinam. 
In the East we defeated the French squadron of Admiral 
Linois. This last success was enhanced by the reflection 
that it was achieved solely by the merchant vessels of 
the China fleet. There also by land we had signally 
triumphed. Sir Arthur Wellesley had now commenced 
his long and splendid career of victory. In the course 
of 1803 he had gained over the Mahrattas the two great 
battles of Assye and Argaum. A peace was then con- 
cluded most honourable to the administration of Lord 
Wellesley, and establishing, for a long time to come, the 
security of our Indian empire. 

During this autumn, Charles the Fourth, King of 
Spain and the Indies — or rather Gfodoy, Prince of the 
Peace, who governed in his name — grew from an un- 
avowed an open, and therefore perhaps the less dangerous, 
enemy. For a long time past the Spanish rulers had 
been wholly subservient to the First Consul. They had 
even agreed, as we have seen, to pay him a monthly 
subsidy towards the expenses of his war with England — 
a proceeding of which England was most justly entitled 
to complain. Still, however, we refrained from any 
measure of retaliation. But Mr. Frere, our Minister at 
Madrid, was instructed to deliver a note, which he did 
accordingly on the 18th of February, 1804, stating that 
so long as the Spaniards continued in a position of 
merely nominal neutrality, any naval armament in their 


ports must be considered as putting an immediate end 
to the forbearance of England. 

Such was the state of things when, in the course of 
the September following, Admiral Cochrane, who was 
cruising off the coast of Ofallicia, sent home intelligence 
that orders had been given by the Court of Madrid for 
arming, without loss of time, at Ferrol, four ships of the 
line, two frigates, and other smaller vessels ; and that 
similar orders had been given at Carthagena and at 
Cadiz. Lord Harrowby at once wrote directions to Mr. 
Frere to use the strongest language with the Spanish 
Minister for Foreign Affairs. 'You will state to M. 
de Cevallos that it is impossible to consider this pro- 
ceeding, unaccompanied as it has been by any previous 
explanation whatever, in any other light than as a 
menace directly hostile. It imposes upon His Majesty 
the duty of taking, without delay, every measure of pre- 
caution, and particularly of giving orders to his Admiral 
off the port of Ferrol to prevent any of the Spanish 
ships of war from sailing from that port, or any addi- 
tional ships of war from entering it His Majesty 

cannot allow Spain to enjoy all the advantages of 
neutrality, and at the same time to carry on against him 
a double war, by assisting his enemies with pecuniary 
succours to which no limit is assigned, and by obliging 
him, at the same time, to divert a part of his naval force 
from acting against those enemies, in order to watch the 
armaments carried on in ports professing to be neutral.' ' 

The answers returned by M. de Cevallos at Madrid 
proved to be, as was foreseen, altogether unsatisfactory. 
Mr. Frere demanded his passports, which were sent him 
accordingly on the 7th of November. But meanwhile 
the English Cabinet had thought itself fully entitled to 
act on the previous warning conveyed by Mr. Frere in 
the month of February. It had at once sent orders to 
detain the treasure ships on their way from America to 
Spain. Acting on these orders, near Cadiz, on the 5th 

1 Despatch from Lord Harrowby to Mr. Frere, Sept. 29, 1804. 


of October, four English frigates fell in with as many 
Spanish, laden with dollars from the Bio de la Plata. 
The Spanish commander, when summoned, would not 
allow himself to be detained. An action ensued, when, 
of the four Spanish ships, three were captured and one 
blew up. 

At these news M. d'Anduaga, the Spanish Minister 
in London, called upon Lord Harrowby and asked for 
' explanations ' — as though the act did not sufficiently 
explain itself! ' I told him,' said Lord Harrowby, 
' that the Court of Madrid could have no reason to be 
surprised that such a step was taken, after the note de- 
livered by Mr. Frere on the 18th of February last. 

I told him that this was the first and most 

obvious of the measures of precaution which had been 
announced. It had been thought right to announce 
precisely the intention of engaging the ships of war 
which might attempt to sail to or from Ferrol, because 
it would depend upon the Spanish Government, after 
receiving such an intimation, to give such orders as to 
their sailing as it might think proper, and to prevent 
a hostile meeting between the two squadrons. But 
to have announced more particularly the intention of 
detaining the treasure-ships must either have been per- 
fectly useless, if the Spanish Government had no means 
of giving them notice of such intention, or must have 
afforded the opportunity of rendering it completely 
abortive.' l 

The result, as might be expected, was, in the course 
of December, a Declaration of War from the Court of 
Spain. It was accompanied by a Proclamation from 
the Prince of the Peace —quite worthy of the quarter 
from which it came. He described the measures of the 
English for the detention of the treasure-ships as ' these 
robberies, these acts of treachery and assassination.' 
He told 'those distant islanders' to 'hide their dis- 
honoured heads,' and to 'tremble at the contemplation 

1 Despatch to Mr. Frere, October 21, 1804. 

1801 WAR WITH SPAIN. 2(17 

of their ill-gotten wealth.' And he desired to remind 
them that the Spaniards were the same people — and 
even, as he might have added, without the advantage 
of any Godoy at that time to lead them — who had 
already triumphed over the Carthaginians, the Romans, 
the Vandals, and the Saracens. 

On the 2nd of December the new Sovereign of 
France was crowned in solemn state by the Pope at 
Notre Dame. At the news of the Papal journey when 
actually commenced, it was clear to the English people 
that the French descent upon themselves was no longer 
imminent. There was a respite from the expected 
battles either by sea or land. Yet still amidst the 
weight of his public cares, Pitt moved but little from 
the neighbourhood of London. He only paid short 
visits of one or two days to a few of his friends : to 
Mr. Rose at Cuffnells, and to Lord Carrington at 
Wycombe ; to Lord Hawkesbury at Combe Wood, and 
to Lord Abercorn at the Priory near Stanmore. 

The last-named nobleman I may observe in passing 
even as Lord Hamilton had been always among his 
friends. In 1784 the third number of the 'Rolliad' 
winds up with that name a Pittite list — 

And the dark brow of solemn Hamilton. 

In 1789 he succeeded to the Earldom, and in 1700 
was raised to the Marquisate of Abercorn. All through 
life, that too solemn manner which the ' Rolliad ' notes 
was a subject of good-humoured raillery from those who 
knew him best. On one occasion it is said he requested 
an interview with Pitt, and went accordingly to call in 
Downing Street. ' I was much relieved,' Pitt said 
afterwards, ' when I found that he wanted only to be 
a Knight of the Garter ; for from his way of coming 
in, I was afraid that he meant to ask for my interest to 
be elected Emperor of Germany ! ' 

But be>ides these rapid visits to the Priory and to 
other places, Pitt ere long felt the want of some quiet 


country seat of his own. Finding how much he was 
now debarred from his favourite but more distant retreat, 
of Walmer Castle, he took on hire, as in the autumn of 
1784, a small house upon Putney Heath. 

It was, perhaps, during such brief intervals of leisure 
that Mr. Pitt put on paper some notes for further 
thought, which are still preserved in his own hand- 
writing, by the care of Mr. Adams. Only the titles or 
superscriptions are here added by myself. 

The War. 

(Paper-mark 1803.) 

Whether the attacks should be numerous or few in order 
to strengthen them, and in what points : — 

1. South of Italy. — Besides Neapolitans, 10 or 15,000 
British troops and as many Russians; besides free corps 
raised in Albania and Italy, the latter by the King of Sar- 

2. North of Italy — Switzerland and South of Germany. 
— Austrian troops supported by 60,000 Russians as auxi- 

North of Germany. — 40,000 Russians, with a body of 
Hanoverians, a Swedish army, and a diversion from Eng- 
land. To advance towards the Lew Countries. 

The operations on the two Hanks may be modified accord- 
ing to the conduct of Turkey. These will probably only act 
when forced. Austria and Sweden may, it is thought, be 
brought to act voluntarily. 

It is not meant by diversion that any descent should be 
made from hence in the beginning, but that we should con- 
tinue to menace their coasts, and not attempt anything in 
the interior till after some decided success. 

Advantages to be given to any Power if necessary should 
be regulated with a view to the future safety of Europe, 
and the zeal shown by each Power. It is supposed nothing 
can be proposed for Prussia consistent with the safety and 
interests of the rest of Europe, except the provinces she ceded 
to France. Austria is expected from the little which lias 
passed to be very moderate, and content with inconsiderable 
acquisitions in Germany and Italy. 


King of Sardinia should not only be re-established, but 
bis share should be made as large as possible. 

Switzerland should be arrondi, and its position streng- 
thened as much as possible. 

The same principle should be followed with respect to 

(Paper-mark 1803.) 

The present situation of the German body neither good 
for the countries themselves nor for Europe. 

Should a part of it be englohe by the two great Powers, 
or a third great State formed in the middle of Germany 1 
This can scarce be thought of, from its injustice to so many 
Princes of the Empire. 

Could a more concentrated Federative Government be 
formed out of the different States ; and should not in that 
case both Austria and Prussia be separated from it 1 

Principle of mediation being to precede war. 

Intimate union necessary between England and Russia, 
who are the only Powers that for many years can have no 
jealousy or opposite interests. 


I see various and opposite qualities — all the great and 
all the little passions unfavourable to public tranquillity — 
united in the breast of one man, and of that man, unhappily, 
whose personal caprice can scarce fluctuate for an hour with- 
out affecting the destiny of Europe. I see the inward work- 
ings of fear struggling with pride in an ardent, enterprising, 
and tumultuous mind. J see all the captious jealousy of 
conscious usurpation dreaded, detested, and obeyed — the 
giddiness and intoxication of splendid but unmerited success 
— the arrogance, the presumption, the self-will of unlimited 
and idolised power, and — more dreadful than all in the pleni- 
tude of authority — the restless and incessant activity of 
guilty but unsated ambition. 

It is not clear what was the object of this fragment 
upon Napoleon. At first sight it might appear intended 
for a speech. But as I learn from Mr. Adams, and have 


heard also from many other quarters, it was not tin- 
practice of Mr. Pitt to compose beforehand and write 
down any part of the speeches which he designed to 
make ; nor does any other fragment such as this appear 
among his papers. 

There are many persons to whom the judgment of 
Napoleon as here expressed may seem on some points 
unduly severe. They must remember that it was not 
drawn on dispassionate observation as in a period of 
peace, but was levelled at a powerful enemy expected 
day by day to invade us. 

Having here given the judgment of Pitt upon 
Napoleon, I feel tempted at the risk of some digression 
to give also in this place the judgment of Napoleon 
upon Pitt. It is comprised in some manuscript memoirs 
which have been only a few months since used by 
M. Thiers. We find then that on the 11th of June, 
1815, the day before he set out for his Waterloo cam- 
paign, Napoleon was conversing with his Ministers on 
the difficulties of his newly granted Constitution. ' 1 do 
not know,' he said, ' how in my absence you will manage 
to lead the Chambers. Monsieur Fouche thinks that- 
popular assemblies are to be controlled by gaining 
over some old jobbers, or flattering some young en- 
thusiasts. That is only intrigue, and intrigue does not 
carry one far. In England such means are not alto- 
gether neglected ; but there are greater and nobler ones. 
Remember Mr. Pitt, and look at Lord Castlereagh ! . . . 
With a sign from his eyebrows, Mr. Pitt could control 
the House of Commons, and so can Lord Castlereagh 
now. . . . Ah ! if I had such instruments, I should not 
be afraid of the Chambers. But have I anything to 
resemble these ? ' l 

During the last half of this year Mr. Pitt and Lord 
Eldon were engaged in, as it proved, a very thankless 
and vexatious business. This was to negotiate a re- 

1 Hut. du Comulat et de VEmpwe^ vol. xix. p. 619, publisl ed 
Aug. 1861. 


conciliation between the King and the Prince of Walts. 
His Royal Highness, ever since a military post had been 
denied him, was anxious to show any personal Blight in 
his power to the King. For example, it was known that 
His .Majesty was strict in requiring the attendance of his 
family and household at the Drawing Room held every 
year in honour of his birthday, on the 4th of June. In 
1804 not only did the Prince on that day remain absent 
from Court, but to prove that his absence was not owing 
to indisposition, he drove through the streets upon the 
coach-box of his barouche. 1 Nevertheless, a reconcilia- 
tion was desired by his own friends as much as by the 
King's. Lord Moira and Mr. Tierney acted mainly on 
the one side ; Mr. Pitt and Lord Eldon on the other. 
They prevailed on the high contracting parties to have 
an interview in the summer at Kew, before the King set 
out for Weymouth. It was to take place in the pre- 
sence of the Queen and the Princesses, and only general 
conversation was to pass. At the appointed time their 
Majesties and their Royal Highnesses were ready, when 
there came a note which the Prince had addressed to 
the Chancellor, and which the Chancellor transmitted 
to the King. It was to excuse himself from attending 
His Majesty on account of illness. ' This excuse,' said 
the King, ' I most readily accepted, and wrote so to the 
Chancellor.' 2 

In the autumn, however, this unpromising negotia- 
tion was renewed. The King desired to have under his 
own charge the education and household of the Princess 
Charlotte, now almost nine years of age, and heiress 
presumptive to the Throne. Lord Moira was under- 
stood by Mr. Pitt to signify the Prince's assent ; and 
the other points of difference being then adjusted, an 
interview of formal reconciliation between His Majesty 
and His Royal Highness was brought to pass at Kew. 

1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 517. 

2 Seethe King's own account to Ruse ;it Weymouth, Sept. 30, 
1804. Diaries oi .Mr. Kuse, vol. ii. p. 1G8. 


The King was next proceeding to form the establish- 
ment of the young Princess. As chief Preceptor he 
desired to name Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Exeter; and as 
chief Governess, Lady George Murray, a person of most 
unexceptionable character, whose late husband, Lord 
George, had been Bishop of St. David's. But at the 
last moment the Prince of Wales drew back. He 
declared that he never had intended to put his daugh- 
ter's education out of his own control. He declared that 
Lord Moira had exceeded his powers ; while Lord 
Moira, on his part, declared that he had not said what 
Mr. Pitt supposed. In the mean time the young 
Princess was removed to Carlton House, and the dissen- 
sions in the Royal family, dissensions which all good 
subjects had trusted to see hushed up, were again and 
as painfully renewed. 

These family dissensions extended also to the ill- 
mated and ill-fated Princess of Wales. Mr. Pitt had 
been from the first determined not to see her oppressed. 
To his memory Mr. Brougham, as her Counsel at the 
Bar of the House of Lords, October 3, 1820, in solemn 
strains appealed : ' Mr. Pitt was her earliest defender 
and friend in this country. He died in 1806, and but a 
few weeks afterwards the first inquiry into the conduct 
of Her Royal Highness began.' But the more Mr. Pitt 
desired to shield her from her enemies, the more he 
was bound to warn her of her faults. The conduct of 
Her Royal Highness in her retirement at Blackheath 
was on some points disrespectful to the Prince, and on 
others, to say the least, unguarded. At Cufmells in 
October, 1804, Mr. Pitt told Rose that he and the 
Chancellor had made to the Princess in the most earnest 
manner their joint remonstrances, which Her Royal 
Highness received in the coldest manner possible, 
utterly unmoved for a long time. At last made sensible 
of the absolute necessity of some change in her conduct 
by the effect that would otherwise be produced in t In- 
public mind, she promised an alteration. But Pitt said 


he had little hope that the alteration" would be really 

India, also, at this time claimed the Prime Minister's 
attention. The conduct of Lord Wellesley in the 
matter of the Subsidiary Treaties, and the disapproval 
of the Court of Directors, made his return almost a 
matter of necessity. Lord Castlereagh told Lord Corn- 
wallis that ' Mr. Pitt had entered thoroughly into the 
business,' and had come to the conclusion that a change 
was indispensable. 1 Lord Wellesley, however, was at 
this period very willing to return ; and there was no 
breach in the feelings of amity between him and Mr. 
Pitt. The question was, then, as to the choice of the 
new Governor-General. The Duke of Portland made a 
most earnest appeal to Mr. Pitt in behalf of his second 
son, Lord William Bentinck. 2 But Mr. Pitt, in con- 
junction with Lord Castlereagh, prevailed on Lord 
Cornwallis to undertake for the second time this 
arduous task. 

Another transaction in which Mr. Pitt was at this 
time engaged related to Lord Auckland. We have seen 
that when Mr. Pitt was forming his last administration, 
his Lordship had been almost as of course removed 
from his office as Joint Postmaster-General. 

Lord Auckland had of his own one or two large 
diplomatic pensions. His wife had a further pension 
of 8001. a year. His son had a rich sinecure as an 
Auditor of the Exchequer. Now, as Lord Auckland's 
own pension was suspended during his tenure of office, 
it was computed that his loss of income by the loss of 
office would not exceed 500l. a year. Pitt was of 
opinion that Lord Auckland's diplomatic services would 
warrant a second pension of that amount to Lady 
Auckland, and he desired in that manner to promote 
the pecuniary comfort of the family. There is some- 
thing in that course, as it strikes me, highly character- 

. ' Co-rnrvallis Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 552, 
2 MS. letter in the Pitt Papers, dated Dec. 17, 1804. 


istic of a noble nature. Pitt would not consent to any 
renewal of intimacy where once, as he thought, that 
intimacy had been abused ; but on the other hand, 
Pitt desired to shield his former friend from every loss 
beyond the cessation of his friendship. 

There was from a point of form some delay at the 
Treasury in giving effect to the arrangement. At its 
close we find Lord Auckland write on it as follows to 
John Beresford at Dublin : * I told you at the time 
that when I quitted the Post Office it was signified to 
me that His Majesty had approved of my having an 
income equivalent to what I was losing, and that I had 
written and had received an answer gracious on that 
point and very confidential on another point. I must 
now do Mr. Pitt the justice to say that he has com- 
pleted that business in a way that places me indepen- 
dent of political chances and changes, and is also more 
beneficial to my family.' ' 

Lord Auckland also wrote to Pitt himself, and I 
here subjoin his letter. I doubt if that letter received 
any reply. I am sure that it produced no renewal of 

Eden Farm, Dec. 18, 1804. 

My dear Sir, — Having learnt from the Treasury that 
the warrants which you had recommended in consequence of 
my quitting the Post Office are now in a state of comple- 
tion, I should be dissatisfied with myself if I omitted to 
express a warm and grateful sense of your kindness and 
favour shown to me during a long course of years, and on 
many occasions both public and domestic. That kindness 
is more especially felt in the present instance, as its effects 
may be eventually material to the person whose interests 
you know to be justly dear to me beyond all worldly con- 

Permit me to add, that whatever may have been the 
misconceptions, or the causes of grievance, real or imaginary, 
on either part, I now consent, and think it light, that in 

1 P.S. dated Nov. 20, 1804, in the Beresford Correspondence, vol. 
ii. p. 3i >8. 


the comparative infirmities of human nature the whole 
should be charged to my side of the account. But let it be 
understood, on the other hand, that I have ever preserved 
the same affection towards you, without interruption, :ind in 
all times and circumstances. 

Nor have I ever ceased to reflect, with a mixture of fair 
pride, pleasure, and regret, that so many of the happiest 
days of my life have been passed in your conversation and 

Ever affectionately and sincerely yours, 


In the letter to Mr. Beresfoid, from which I just now 
quoted, Lord Auckland also gives some news of the day, 
and this among the rest : 4 1 much fear that the Arch- 
bishop is going.' Here he refers to his brother-in-law, 
Archbishop Moore of Canterbury. The life of that 
Prelate was indeed well understood to be in danger ; 
and the chances of his succession began to be discussed. 
Foremost among the probable successors was a cousin 
of the Duke of Rutland, Dr. Manners Sutton, Bishop of 
Norwich and Dean of Windsor. In this last capacity 
he had become well known to and most highly esteemed 
by the King. At Cuffnells, in October, His Majesty 
expressed his hope and belief that he and Mr. Pitt 
should agree in Bishop Sutton to succeed Archbishop 
Moore. 1 

On this point, however, His Majesty was much mis- 
taken. In the course of November a new competitor 
appeared. This was another Bishop and Dean — Dr. 
Tomline, Bishop of Lincoln and Dean of St. Paul's. 
He first stated his pretensions in a letter to Rose, which 
he requested Rose to lay before Mr. Pitt ; 2 and Mr. Pitt 
at once espoused his cause with all the zeal and warmth 
of an early friend. But the further progress of this 
affair will best be shown by some correspondence of the 
Bishop himself. 

1 Diaries of Mr. Rose, vol. ii. p. 194. 2 Ibid. p. 84. 



Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Ixoso. 

Deanery, St. Paul's, Dec. 3, 1804. 

My dear Sir, — I went to dine and sleep at Putney on 
Saturday, and Mr. Pitt, as soon as he saw me, told me that 
he was to be at Windsor the next day or two, and would 
certainly speak upon the subject about which you have so 
kindly interested yourself. He desired to see me this morn- 
ing at breakfast at Putney ; but he came down late, and I 
could not see him alone, although he said before a third 
person, ' Bishop, I want to speak to you, and must get into 
your carriage with you.' He did so, and told me what had 
passed. It is by no means decisive ; but as far as it goes it 
is rather favourable, inasmuch as no fixed determination or 
promise was mentioned, although a very strong wish and 
opinion, of course against me, or rather in favour of the 
other person, were expressed. The Lord Chancellor was 
present at Windsor. Mr. Pitt means to write fully upon 
the subject, which he thinks better than conversation in the 
present state of the King. I am confident that he will do 
everything in his power, short of absolute force. Nothing 
can be more kind than his manner and expressions ; and my 
mind is perfectly at ease, indeed much more than at ease. 

I have but a moment to say that I rather think we shall 
remain in town and at Fulham till Saturday, when we shall 
go to Wycombe to meet Mr. Pitt at Lord Carrington's. 
Adieu, my dear Sir. 

Yours ever most cordially, G. Lincoln. 

Things are getting worse than ever with the Prince. 

Wycombe, Dec. 11, 1804. 

My dear Sir, — I received your letter on Saturday, just 
as we were setting out for this place to meet Mr. Pitt. Mr. 
Pitt came hither to dinner on Saturday, and went away 
yesterday morning ; he seems remarkably well, and in high 
spirits : he thinks that additional strength in the House of 
Commons is very desirable, though not absolutely necessary. 
It will be derived from a quarter, if from any, which will 
not give much satisfaction to you and me. While he was 
here he wrote the rough copy of a letter to His Majesty, 
relative to the expected vacancy, as strong and as kind as I 


could wish; but still we all of us consider the event as 


Yours ever most affectionately, G. Lincoln. 

Buckden Palace, Dec. 18, 1804. 
Mr. Pitt has received no answer to his letter on my 



Resignation of Lord Harrowby — Reconciliation between Pitt and 
Addington — Comments of Lord Camden and Bishop Tomline — 
Lord Mulgrave appointed Secretary for Foreign Affairs — Canning 
proposes to retire — Addington becomes President of the Council 
and Viscount Sidmouth — Letter from Napoleon to George the 
Third — Deaths of Lord Loughborough and of Archbishop Moore 
— Application from Bishop Pelham — Parliamentary debates — 
Establishment for the Princess Charlotte — Pitt's last Budget. 

Early in December, and through an untoward accident, 
Mr. Pitt lost the aid of a principal colleague. Lord 
Harrowby missed his footing on the stone stair-case of 
the Foreign Office, and fell on the front part of his 
head. He was so much hurt that for some days his life 
was thought to be in danger. Even when he had re- 
covered, his nerves were so much shaken, and his health 
was so far impaired, that he found it necessary to send 
in his resignation. It was a great loss, and one not 
easy to supply. 

Before he made the new appointment which this 
misfortune rendered requisite, Mr. Pitt resolved to 
follow out the idea which had occurred to him of a 
considerable accession to his ranks. Why might not 
Pitt and Addington act once more together ? They 
were now, it is true, upon the coldest terms. ' I know,' 
writes Thomas (rrenville to a brother, ' that only two 
days before, upon Pitt touching his hat as he passed by 


Addington, Addington observed to Dyson, who was 
riding by his side, that even that greeting was new to 
him.' ' Yet nothing had occurred between them incon- 
sistent with the high honour of either. Nothing had 
passed to make impossible a renewal of their ancient 
friendship. If Addington would join the Government 
heartily and fully, there would follow not less than forty 
Members who had continued to adhere to him, and 
there would be established, beyond all the efforts of Fox 
and Grenville, a sufficient Ministerial majority in the 
House of Commons. 

With these views the first step of Mr. Pitt was, 
through Lord Hawkesbury, to sound Mr. Addington. 
Finding the disposition favourable, he next wrote to 
consult the King. There could be no doubt of His 
Majesty's delighted acquiescence. 2 The negotiation then 
proceeding, a personal interview between the two states- 
men was arranged. It took place at Lord Hawkesbury's 
country house, Coombe Wood, on the afternoon of Sun- 
day the 23rd of December; and Mr. Addington subse- 
quently gave a full account of it to his friend the 
Speaker. It appears that Lord Hawkesbury quitted the 
room before Mr. Pitt came into it ; and Pitt on entering 
stretched out his hand to Addington and said, * I re- 
joice to take you by the hand again.' The interview 
continued three hours without any third person being 
present, and ' not without some emotion,' as Mr. Ad- 
dington related it. 3 

Next day, at Kichmond, there was another inter- 
view between the two statesmen of an hour's duration, 
and on Wednesday the 26th Pitt went alone to join 
the family dinner of Addington at Richmond Park. 

1 Cewrts a txl Cabinets of George the Third, vol. iii. p. 404. 

2 See in my Appendix Mr. Pitt's letter from his villa at Putney, 
Dec. 17, 1804, and the King's answer the next day. 

3 Diaru » of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 537. He gives as the date 
of this interview Monday the 24th, but this must be an error, since 
both the King's letter in my Appendix and Mr. Addington's in 
Dean Pellew's biography name the Sunday. 


Their old feelings of intimacy seemed to be rapidly 

There were, however, many matters to adjust. Ad- 
dington required explanations both as to the Spanish 
War and the Additional Force Bill. Then as to office, 
Pitt proposed that Addington should go up to the House 
of Lords and accept the Presidency of the Council, which 
the Duke of Portland from ill health was very ready 
to relinquish. Addington, on the other hand, wished 
to remain in the House of Commons, and to take a seat 
in the Cabinet without office. Finally he gave way 
upon both these points, though not without much regret 
and some correspondence. But he insisted that if he 
did take office he must carry into the Cabinet with him 
at least one friend, namely Lord Hobart, who had 
recently succeeded to the Earldom of Buckinghamshire. 
He must also claim that Bond, Bragge Bathurst, and 
others of his friends should be considered for lesser 
offices as vacancies might arise. 

Pitt readily promised to consider these gentlemen 
hereafter. The other condition was rendered possible 
at present by the arrangement which Pitt made for the, 
P'oreign Office. After some consideration he determined 
to appoint Lord Mulgrave, who, among the few states- 
men then at his disposal, seemed to him best fitted for 
the post, and who would leave the Chancellorship of the 
Duchy, with a seat in the Cabinet, open to Lord Buck- 

We find Pitt, on Christmas Day, write to Lord 
Chatham and announce the coming event. 

Bromley Hill, Dec. 25, 1804. 
My clear Brother, — On considering carefully the state of 
parties, and the nature of the opposition we have to 
encounter, I have satisfied myself that though we should 
certainly have strength enough to stand our ground, our 
majority would not be such as to meet difficult questions 
with advantage, or to prevent much possible embarrassment 
to the public service, as well as uneasiness to the King's 


mind. Under this impression I have felt it my duty not to 
let any recollection of past differences stand in the way of 
recruiting, as far as possible, those whose former habits and 
opinions render them most likely cordially to concur in sup- 
porting the King's Government. I trust you will think 
that I have decided as I ought ; and you will, I am sure, be 
happy to hear that I have in consequence had a communica- 
tion with Addington, which led to our meeting the day 
before yesterday, and again yesterday morning; and that 
1 laving found his disposition perfectly corresponding with 
my own, we have had no difficulty in coming to a perfectly 
friendly and cordial understanding, and in having a very 
satisfactory explanation on all the chief public points which 
are now depending. If the Duke of Portland should not be 
disinclined (which he probably will not), either now or a 
short time hence, to open the Presidentship of the Council 
for Addington, and if I can succeed in finding some proper 
office for Lord Buckinghamshire, such an arrangement will 
be very satisfactory to Addington. At all events he seems 
thoroughly determined to give every possible proof of his 
disposition to support Government. I shall be kept in town 
still some days, partly by this and other business, and partly 
waiting for a west wind, but I hope by the end of the week 
to run down to Bath. 

Ever, my dear Brother, &c, W. Pitt. 

Lord Chatham, as we find from his answer, rejoiced 
at the tidings. But, on the other hand, Pitt had to 
encounter much repugnance on the part of many of his 
followers. So early as the 21st there was, for example, 
a letter of great length upon the subject from one who 
was both a Cabinet colleague and a personal friend. A 
few paragraphs from that letter will suffice to show its 
general purport : — 

Earl Camden to Mr. Pitt. 

Arlington Street, Dec. 21, 1804. 

Dear Pitt, — As you have told me that nothing makes 

you so bilious as arrangements, my only excuse for troubling 

you upon them is, that they have the same effect on me. 

The communication already made to the King and 


Mr. A. must show how far you are personally inclined to go 
for the good of the King's service for the sake of the former, 
and how ready you are to forget injuries from old regard to 
the latter ; and if there is an opening from the present state 
of the negotiation that Mr. A. should delay coming into 
office till after he has supported Government, I cannot ex- 
press the anxiety I feel you should not suffer it to pass by. 
The union of Grenville and Fox, for the professed purpose 
of forcing a Government on the King, is reason enough for 
Mr. Addington to join in the support of your Government, 
and it is the only creditable line he can take ; but to make 
it so, he ought not now to take office I am differ- 
ently circumstanced from any of your colleagues, for during 
the whole of the last year prior to the change I had that sort 
of communication with persons of all parties in endeavouring 
to keep them, as far as I could, to one point, which of course 
produced remarks not very friendly to Addington, so that 
an immediate union with Mr. A., not preceded by any 
previous support on his part, will make me feel extremely 

• ••••*•••• 

Most sincerely yours, Camden. 

Bishop Tomline, also, was by no means friendly to 
these overtures. He details their progress as follows : — 

Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

Fulham Palace, Dec. 27, 1804. 
My dear Sir, — Yesterday Mr. Pitt was preparing to go 
and dine at Richmond with Mr. Addington. He expressed 
himself perfectly satisfied with the interview on Sunday, 
and related to me the principal things which passed. It 
was not settled what particular office Mr. A. is to have. 
.... I stated to Mr. Pitt how much better it would be 
that all this should be deferred for some months, and that in 
the mean time Mr. A. and his friends should support, Mr. 
Pitt thought that this could not be accomplished, and 
assigned some reasons. The whole was to be talked over 
yesterday after dinner. 

Mr. Pitt was in high spirits. He talked of going to 
Bath on Saturday or Sunday, if the wind continues east, 


and sending to Plymouth and Falmouth, and desiring that 
Mi\ B. Frei*e, if he should arrive, would go to Bath, instead 
of going directly to town. Mr. Pitt would return to town 
about the 9th ; but I am of opinion, upon the whole, that he 
will not go, and more especially as there is some important 
Russian business which must be settled before he can leave 
town, exclusive of this political arrangement ; and he must 
also go to Windsor, which, indeed, he might perhaps do on 
his way to Bath. On the other hand, he may perhaps want 
to return to town after he has seen His Majesty. 

I shall remain quietly here to-day, and intend to be in 
Downing Street to-morrow morning, before Mr. Pitt's break- 
fast hour, for the chance of getting some conversation with 
him. Had I been at Buckden, Lord and Lady Grenville 
would have dined and slept there yesterday, the very day 
Mr. P. dined with Mr. A. What a paragraph for the news- 
papers ! 

I expect to see Lord G. at Buckden, on his way to Lord 
Carysfort's. He has promised. Adieu. 

Always most affectionately yours, G. Lincoln. 

Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

Deanery, St. Paul's, Dec. 29, 1804. 
My dear Sir, — I read your letter, which I found upon 
my coming from St. Paul's this morning, on my way to 
Downing Street. I went to Mr. Pitt in his dressing-room, 
which he was just leaving ; and he was scarcely seated at his 
breakfast-table, when he said, ' Have you heard from Rose 
lately 1 Does he know what is going on ? ' I told him that 
I had given you a general idea of the business, as I concluded 
he (Mr. Pitt) would have no objection. ' Quite otherwise, 
for I have intended to write to him myself, but could never 

find leisure. I am glad he knows it from you ' He 

said he would write to you to day, if possible ; if not, upon 
his road to Bath. He still talks of setting out to-morrow. 

But I must conclude. I am going to an early and 

short dinner with Mr. Pitt, that he may prepare for his 
Bath journey, of which I have still some doubts. Let me 
hear from you. 

Yours ever cordially, G. Lincoln. 

Recollect that there was no difference of principle between 


Mr. A. and Mr. P., and that Mr. P. ridiculed him as First 
Minister. The King approves of Lord Mulgrave. Nothing 
new about the arrangement. Mr. Pitt agreed to meet Mr. 
A. yesterday at Hatsell's. Mr. A. came to town on purpose, 
and after waiting an hour and a half, he sent to Downing 
Street to inquire after Mr. Pitt. The answer was that he 
was gone to Windsor, and was not expected back for several 
horn's ! Mr. Pitt forgot the appointment that they were to 
meet to-day. 

Addington felt no displeasure at the unexpected 
absence of Pitt from Mr. Hatsell's when he found that 
it had been caused by a sudden summons from the 
King. So he learnt from the King himself, who came 
iu a friendly manner and without further notice to call 
upon his former Minister at Kichmond. The King 
further desired Addington to attend him the next day. 
This he did accordingly. 'I am just returned from 
Kew ' — so writes Addington to his brother — ' where I 
passed an hour and a half with His Majesty, and par- 
took of his dinner, which consisted of mutton chops and 
pudding. He was in excellent spirits, and quite well.' 1 

In the letter from Bishop Tomline which I just now 
inserted, the Bishop seems to think that Mr. Pitt after 
all would not make his intended visit to Bath. Here 
his Lordship proved a true prophet. The calls of public 
business forbade it. Much as Pitt's physician pressed 
the journey, much as his health required it, he found 
it necessary to remain in or close to Downing Street 
until the meeting of Parliament. 

At Bath, Pitt had expected to meet Lord Mulgrave. 
Instead of going, he wrote to his friend on the last day 
of the year, and proposed to him the Foreign Office. 
Lord Mulgrave accepted the offer with alacrity, and at 
once appointed as his Under Secretary of State his 
brother-in-law, Mr. Kobert Ward, the future author of 
6 Tremaine.' 2 

1 Life by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 342. 

- Memoirs of Ward, by the Hon. Edmund Phipps, vol. i. p. 162. 


Of all Pitt's friends at this time there was certainly 
no one to whom the junction with Addington was nearly 
so unwelcome as to Canning. This can be no matter 
of surprise to any one who recollects how keen were the 
satires he had written, how adverse the sentiments he 
had expressed. His mortification on the subject is 
most clearly shown in a confidential letter which he 
wrote on New Year's Day : — 

Mr, Canning to Lady Hester Stanhope. 

South Hill, Jan. 1, 1805. 

Your letter, dear Lady H., has afforded me all the 
comfort that is to be derived from the confirmation of the 
very worst of my apprehensions. But even this is some 
relief after the state of tormenting ignorance and anxiety in 
which I have been kept for the last ten days. To say that I 
am not heavily disappointed in respect to one result, 1 or that 
I look with indifference at the other, as it affects myself, 
would be an unworthy dissimulation. Undoubtedly I should 
have been gratified, I hope from better than merely personal 
motives, by the opportunities which a different result in one 
case would have given me, and I do not pretend to despise 
the advantages which the other takes away. But stronger 
stars have prevailed, and I must give way. 

I am almost sure I need not tell you, I am sure I need 
not remind Mr. Pitt, that the change which makes Mr. A. 
a Minister brings back precisely that state of things under 
which he was kind enough to say, of his own accord, in more 
than one conversation last spring, but particularly in that 
which took place between us the morning after he had been 
with the King, that he would not have pressed me to take 
office, 2 nor would he have thought it becoming in me to do 
so. Of the difference between taking or keeping subordinate 
office, under these same circumstances, I am not aware ; and 
I am persuaded that the general feeling, the first thought of 
everybody who condescends to think of me at all in this 

1 Lord Mulgrave's appointment, and Mr. A.'s. (Note on the 
MS. by Lady Hester.) 

2 In the case of Mr. A.'s forming part of the Government, as C. 
had abused him so openly. (Note by Lady Hester.) 


business, is that the same arrangement which places Mr. A. 
in the Cabinet displaces me. 

You will perhaps ask me why, with this consequence in 
my mind, I did not state my opinions more fully when the 
subject of the negotiation for Mr. A.'s return was first 
mentioned to me at Putney. 

I will tell you why. In the first place, the measure 
was mentioned to me, not as asking my opinion, but as 
announcing what was to be. In the second place, I inferred 
from what was said, that Peerage and Pension, not Cabinet 
office, was what it was in contemplation to give to Mr. A. ; 
and to this I was so far from having the smallest objection, 
that I believe Mr. Pitt will do me the justice to remember 
that I was at least one of the first after the change who 
expressed a wish that such a proposal could be made accep- 
table to A. ; and that I repeated to him a conversation that 
I had had with, I think, Samuel Thornton, hi support of 
that suggestion. In the third place, I was totally mistaken, 
as I since find, as to the time at which the arrangement, 
whatever it might be, was to be made ; for when I asked if 
any step had yet been taken towards the negotiation, I 
understood Mr. Pitt to answer — No. I did then give my 
opinion very fully, thinking that question still open, as to 
the extreme difference and disadvantage of bringing the 
matter about, as has now been done, by private overtures, 
and unexplained agreement, instead of letting it gradually 
ripen in Parliament, and grow out of the course of things 
which would naturally arise there, if A. was either ready to 
make proposals, or desirous of receiving them. 

A. is (if I understand your letter right) a Minister, and 
I am — nothing. I cannot help it. I cannot face the House 
of Commons or walk the streets in this state of things, as I 
am. I wish only that I could have foreseen this, among 
other things which you tell me I am accused of having 
foreseen (and now boasting my foresight of them), in the 

But wherefore do I write all this to you % Because it is 
introductory to something which I wish to have said, — to a 
request which I wish to make to him ; and through you I 
come to him with more confidence of not being misunder- 
stood. You stand instead of pages of preface and apology, 


and as a voucher for us to each other that we mean each 
other kindly and fairly. 

What I have to ask is this, and it is the most important 
favour that he can grant, or I receive : that he will make 
what is inevitable, as little disagreeable as it can be, by 
making it, at least in part, his own act. I do not mean by 
sending me my dismissal, but by appearing to consider my 
retreat as a natural, if not a necessary consequence of the 
other transaction — lamenting, if he will, that I should have 
committed myself so much as to make serving under A. 
personally discreditable to me ; wishing, if he pleases, that I 
did not feel it to be so ; but admitting at the same time to 
others (as he has before to myself), that he does not wonder 
that I should so feel it, and cannot blame my acting upon 
that feeling. 

There are two quarters particularly where, if he enter- 
tains these sentiments (and assuredly he did entertain them), 
he would do me incalculable service by expressing them. 
First to the King, with whom, for no political purpose, but 
because he has been always very good to me, and I fear he 
thinks I was wanting in duty (which God knows I was not) 
to him, I should wish if possible to stand well, and who, 
though he may perhaps resent an act that looks like hostility 
to A., has, if I mistake not, a cordial approbation for even a 
mistaken sense of honour ; and whom, above all, I would 
not have think that I am capable of looking elsewhere for 

The other place is Wimbledon, 1 where Mr. Pitt's declara- 
tion that he is satisfied would save me a world of hopeless 
explanation, and where I know nothing else that would 
obtain for me a chance of being understood. 

For the rest I care not. 

And now, dearest Lady H., do not throw down this 
letter in a passion, and condemn it as the first burst of dis- 
appointment upon the first reading of your letter. Be it 
known to you, I received your letter last night, and have 
slept upon it (as much sleep as I could get after such a 
letter), which you are aware is an infallible recipe for sober 

If I am not much mistaken, there is not one expression 
of anger, resentment, irritation, or extravagance, nor, I am 
1 Lord Melville's house. 


sine, a witty one (which is the next crime in degree), 
throughout the whole. I have avoided too, I hope I have, 
every symptom of sensihility ; for when I think with what 
sensibility, and whose, mine has been weighed in the scale, 
and found wanting, I am sick of the word and the thing. I 
have written, too, without consultation or communication 
with any (male) human being, nor shall I be hasty to speak 
or write upon the subject. 

Adieu, dear Lady H. You are very good to attempt to 
console me with all the fine things that are said of me, and 
particularly the advantage of having such a person ' afloat.' 
I shall be ' afloat,' you see, and perhaps in the sense that 
your friend likes best, though he might not tell you so. 

I need not say I wish to hear from you. It will be a 
great comfort to me to hear from Mr. Pitt. The only thing 
that I have felt unkind is, that during the agitation of 
questions so peculiarly interesting to me, he should not once 
have written, nor expressed a wish to see me. Now, I 
suppose, we shall hardly meet, as he does not appear to have 
put South Hill among the excursions which are to take the 
place of Bath (I wish he could have done so), and I see no 
business that I have in town ; and besides, my everlasting 
leg is just now not in a state to go there. 

I am sending a servant to town, and you will therefore 
get this letter, as I did yours, before going to bed. Sleep 
upon it soundly, and let Mr. Pitt see all, or as much of it as 
you think right, to-morrow. 

Adieu. God bless you. 

My servant does not return for a day or two, so write 
not by him, but by the post. 

I do not know what reply may have been given to 
this letter. Probably Pitt himself conversed with his 
youthful friend. Probably it was Pitt who wrought on 
him to stay in office, not on any selfish grounds, but as 
a call of public duty, at a period of national danger. 

It might be easily foreseen that the indisposition 
felt by Mr. Canning towards Mr. Addington would be 
just as great upon the other side. 'As to Canning, 
Addington said his feelings never could be altered ; he 
never could meet him ; but he had no desire to in- 


terfere with his private friendships, or prospects of 
success.' ' 

Meanwhile the proposed arrangements were in rapid 
progress, and attained their full completion. The Earl 
of Buckinghamshire became Chancellor of the Duchy. 
Mr. Addington became President of the Council, and 
was raised to the Peerage as Viscount Sidmouth. The 
first person who wrote to him under his new designa- 
tion was Mr. Pitt himself: — 

Downing Street, Friday, 
Jan. 11, 1805. 6 P.M. 

Dear Lord Sidmouth, — The Duke of Portland waives 
the Chancellorship of the Duchy, and agrees to remain in the 
Cabinet without office. Nothing could be kinder or hand- 
somer than his whole conduct ; and, unless he should be 
more unwell to morrow, our Cabinet is to be at Burlington 

Affectionately yours, W. P. 

As to Lord Sidmouth's friends, Mr. Pitt expressed 
his hopes to make a very early opening for some of 
them in lesser office, and meanwhile he became recon- 
ciled to them all. ' Steele and Pitt shook hands on 
Thursday last ; ' so notes the Speaker in his Diary. It 
is most pleasing to find the close of the short estrange- 
ment between these very early and very cordial friends. 

Meanwhile Mr. Wilberforce had written to consult 
Mr. Pitt as to the necessity of his attendance at the 
Meeting of Parliament, and Pitt had replied as fol- 
lows : — 

Downing Street, Jan. i, 1805. 

My dear Wilberforce, — I have hardly time for more than 
one word, and that word I am afraid must be ' Come, 1 
though I say so with reluctance under the circumstances 
you mention. But by my last accounts Opposition is col- 
lecting all its force, and it is therefore very important that 
we should secure as full an attendance as possible. There 
are a great many points on which I shall be very impatient 

1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 540. 


to talk with you, but on which I have no time to write. 
Harrowby is out of all danger, but his general health, I am 
sorry to say, will make it impossible for him to encounter 
any longer the fatigues of his office. The loss of his assist- 
ance will be a great misfortune, but we must do as well as 
we can. The person whom, on the whole, I think best to 
succeed him is Mulgrave. 

Ever affectionately yours, W. P. 

Wilberforce did accordingly come up to town. In 
his Journal he relates how one morning he called on 
Pitt, and walked with him round the Park. t " I am 
sure," said Pitt to me, " that you are glad to hear that 
Addington and I are one again." And then he added, 
with a sweetness of manner which I shall never forget, 
" I think they are a little hard upon us in finding fault 
with our making it up again, when we have been friends 
from our childhood, and our fathers were so before us. 
Yet they say nothing to Grenville for uniting with 
Fox, though they have been fighting all their lives." ' l 

At the beginning of 1805 there came a letter from 
the Emperor Napoleon to King George the Third. It 
expressed, though in very general terms, a strong desire 
for peace ; but so much were particulars avoided, that, 
in the judgment of Mr. Pitt and his colleagues, this 
overture was designed for popular effect rather than 
positive negotiation. An answer was framed and sent, 
not in His Majesty's name, but from Lord Mulgrave to 
M. de Talleyrand. It declared that the King had most 
sincerely the object of peace at heart, but must, in con- 
cluding it, act in concert with certain of the Powers on 
the Continent, and especially the Emperor of Russia. 

In January died at Windsor very suddenly, from an 
attack of gout in the stomach, the Earl of Rosslyn, 
better known as Lord Loughborough. Connected with 
his death there is a curious story which Lord Brougham 
and Lord Campbell have already told. It seems that 
when the tidings were brought to Windsor Castle, the 

1 Life of Wilberforce, by his Sons, vol. iii. p. 211. 


King himself examined the messenger. He inquired 
again and again whether it might not he a false report. 
i Are you quite sure,' he repeated, ' that Lord Rosslyn is 
really dead ? ' When assured that the fact was certainly 
so, and that there could be no mistake about it, His 
Majesty felt free to exclaim, 'Then he has not left a 
greater knave behind him in my dominions ! ' 

Lord Campbell observes, and I concur with him, 
that this story seems to rest on undoubted authority. 1 
I have myself heard it from several persons who were 
in public life at the time. 

Such then was the close of that accomplished, and, 
on many points, most eminent man, whom some forty 
years before Churchill had portrayed with almost equal 
bitterness : — 

That pert, prim prater of the Northern race, 
Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face. 

Another death in January, but unlike Lord Ross- 
lyn's a far from sudden one, was that of Archbishop 
Moore. It brought of course to issue the differences as 
to the choice of his successor. I have not found among 
the Pitt Papers any letter bearing upon them, either to 
or from the King. That which Pitt wrote from Wy- 
combe is nowhere, so far as I know, preserved. It seems 
probable, I think, that the decisive struggle took place 
by word of mouth. Lord Sidmouth once said to Dean 
Milman, that such strong language he believed had 
hardly ever passed between a Sovereign and his Minister. 

Finally, however, the Sovereign prevailed, and the 
Bishop of Norwich was appointed. Here is a subsequent 
letter from the rival Prelate : — 

Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

Buckden Palace, Feb. 4, 1805. 
My dear Sir, — A thousand thanks for your letter, which 

I received yesterday 

Mr. Pitt's assurances and exertions upon the occasion, 

1 Lives of the Chancellors, vol. vi. p. 334. 


though not successful, have given me the most heartfelt 
satisfaction. I had a most kind letter from him the begin- 
ning of last week, which implied that he had acquiesced. 
The triumphs and exultations will give me personally no 
pain — I rather mean on my own private account ; but I 
entirely agree with you that this defeat may be of serious 
mischief upon public grounds. And, indeed, I know persons 
of great consequence who will consider Mr. Pitt's acquies- 
cence as very uncreditable to him, and who are represented 
to me as waiting for the result of this struggle. I am con- 
fident that Mr. Pitt has not the slightest idea of resigning or 
being forced out, and that he looks forward to a long con- 
tinuance in office 

Yours most truly and affectionately, 

G. Lincoln. 

The See of Norwich thus left vacant was also of 
course an object of ambition. Applications for prefer- 
ment have in general no feature of novelty ; but there 
is something, as it seems to me, worthy of record in 
the plan of soliciting a favour by returning thanks for 
it as though already conferred. On that ground I give 
insertion to the two following letters. The writer of 
the first was Dr. George Pelham, Bishop of Bristol, and 
son of the Earl of Chichester. 

Bishop of Bristol to Mr. Pitt. 

Welbeck Street, Friday (Feb. 8), 1805. 
Sir, — I have heard from so many quarters that you 
have been kind enough to think of recommending me to His 
Majesty to succeed to the vacant See of Norwich, that I can 
no longer refrain expi'essing my gratitude to you, if such is 
your intention ; and of assuring you that by so doing you 
will be conferring a lasting obligation upon me, which I 
shall ever have a pride in acknowledging. 

I am, Sir, <fec, G. Bristol. 

Mr. Pitt to the Bishop of Bristol. 

Downing: Street, Friday, 
Feb. 8, 1805. 

My Lord, — In answer to the letter which I have just 
had the honour of receiving from your Lordship, I am sorry 

v 2 


to be under the necessity of acquainting your Lordship that 
the report which has reached you respecting the See of 
Norwich has arisen without my knowledge, and that I 
cannot have the satisfaction of promoting your wishes. 

I have the honour, &c, W. Pitt. 

At the same period the question of an Establishment 
for the Heiress Presumptive was decided. The Prince 
of Wales gave way, or rather came back to his first 
point. The entire charge of the young Princess, who 
was now brought to Windsor Castle, devolved upon the 
King. We find His Majesty, in writing to the Chan- 
cellor, mention Her Koyal Highness again and again in 
terms of the warmest interest. ' From what he has 
seen of his dear grand-daughter in the few days she has 
been here,' the King says he doubts not ' she will prove 
a blessing to her relations, and an honour to her native 
country.' He adds : ' Windsor will be her residence 
for the greatest part of the year, where she will have 
the advantage of excellent air and a retired garden, 
which will enable her quietly and with effect to pursue 
her studies, which certainly as yet have been but little 
attended to.' ' 

Meanwhile the Session was in active progress. It 
had been opened on the 15th of January by the King 
in person. The Royal speech announced the war with 
Spain and promised some explanatory papers. It also 
announced the recent communication from the French 
Government, and the purport of the answer which had 
been returned. And while calling for measures ' to 
prosecute the war with vigour,' the King desired to 
congratulate his Parliament on ' the many proofs of the 
internal wealth and prosperity of the country.' 

No amendment to the Address was moved in either 
of the Houses. But it became evident from the speeches 
of Lord Grenville in the one, and of Mr. Fox in the 
other, that a most vigorous opposition was intended. 
Fox especially went over a great extent of ground. He 

1 See these letters in Twiss's Life of Lord Eldon, vol. i. p. 481. 


complained that the Roman Catholic question was 
omitted. ' I cannot help lamenting,' lie said, ' that in 
the Speech from the Throne there is not one word 
expressive of an intention to recommend that subject 
to our consideration ; a subject so important, that if it 
be not speedily taken into our consideration, no honest 
man can say there is anything like stability and security 
to that part of the British empire.' 

Fox next inveighed against the Additional Force 
Bill of last year ; a measure which he said was now 
allowed to have totally failed. As to the Spanish war 
His Majesty had promised papers, and therefore to pre- 
judge the question would be unwise. Yet, notwith- 
standing this preliminary sentence, Fox went on as 
follows : ' I have, however, no difficulty in saying that 
the seizure of the Spanish frigates, loaded and destined 
as they were, does certainly bear an unseemly appear- 
ance, and one not much to to the honour of this country.' 

On all these points the Minister replied with great 
spirit. He said : ' The Hon. gentleman began with 
expressing his astonishment that the state of Ireland 
was not even alluded to, and argued that till the 
situation of the Roman Catholics was taken into con- 
sideration, that country never can enjoy anything like 

tranquillity or repose But I beg leave to ask 

how it comes to pass that though four years have 
elapsed since the Union, these measures, which the Hon. 
gentleman now so loudly calls for, have never been even 
once recommended ? What is there at the present 
moment which renders those measures so necessary now 
that did not formerly suggest the propriety of their 
adoption ? If he himself has entertained the same views 
which he professes to entertain, he could not consistently 
have suffered the subject to remain so long dormant. 
What the reasons are which have induced me, who 
entertain very different views of the subject, to suffer it 
to remain dormant, I shall on a future occasion have an 
opportunity of stating; and I flatter myself that the 


House and the country will give me credit for con- 
sistency when I have stated the reasons which induce 
me still to think that the matter should remain dormant 
at the present moment. 

* The Hon. gentleman has adverted to the Bill which 
I last Session introduced for the defence of the country, 
and has expressed a hope that some more efficient Bill 
will be substituted in its room. This is not the time 
for a discussion of the subject ; but I feel myself called 
upon to state that I have seen no reason to alter my 
opinion of the grounds on which that Bill was founded. 
And though I admit that its effects in adding to the 
numbers of our military force have indeed been exceed- 
ingly small, nothing that has happened, considering all 
the circumstances under which the Bill was proposed, 
and the principles on which it proceeded, induces me to 
think that it was not a measure which ought to have 
been adopted. 

* As to the detention of the Spanish frigates, I am 
persuaded that when the papers are laid upon the table 
the Hon. gentleman and his friends will see reason to 
alter their opinion, and confess that their suspicions 

were erroneous I am persuaded the House will 

clearly see in that transaction only an additional proof 
of the moderation and justice of His Majesty, who, in 
circumstances that would have warranted the most 
decided hostilities, wished as long as possible to leave the 
door open to conciliation, at the same time that he was 
absolutely bound to take such measures of precaution as 
not to allow an enemy already too formidable to acquire 
any additional means and resources to carry on the war.' 

Fox rose again upon the first point : ' I wish,' he 
said, ' to explain why it is that I have not brought 
forward the subject of Catholic Emancipation. It is 
perfectly well understood that any man bringing forward 
t his subject unconnected with the Ministry would have 
very little chance of gaining the object. It is, besides, 
very doubtful how far the measure would be acceptable 


to the Catholic body, if not taken up as a matter of 
justice and policy by the Executive Government.' 

With all due respect to Mr. Fox, it certainly does 
seem to me that his course upon this subject is hard to 
defend — hard even to make clear. In January, 1805, 
he held, as we have seen, the opinion that an inde- 
pendent Member ought not to stir the question, since it 
would be unavailing. In February, 1806, he held with 
equal firmness the opinion that a Minister of the Crown 
ought not to stir it, since it must harass and wound the 
feelings of the King. It follows then that according to 
the views of Mr. Fox, the question during the reign of 
George the Third, and after the experience of 1801, 
ought not to be stirred at all ; yet this is the very 
position which, when held by his great rival, he so 
bitterly arraigned. 

All the topics which had been glanced at in the 
debate on the Address came on for discussion in a 
separate form, and in more detail. Thus, when the 
papers on the Spanish war had been for some time upon 
the table, Mr. Pitt brought forward a vote in direct 
approval of the course pursued. His speech was of two 
hours and a half. So was also the speech of Mr. Grey, 
who followed, and by whom an amendment was moved. 
This debate, which began on the 11th of February, con- 
tinued through the next night, and did not close till 
past five in the morning. The result was a great triumph 
to the Government — much greater than the accession of 
the Addingtons suffices to explain. So clear and con- 
clusive was thought the statement of Pitt, that it had 
an effect far beyond his immediate body of supporters. 
There was in that House, as in every House of Commons 
previous to the Reform Bill, a no small number of inde~ 
pendent country gentlemen returned by close boroughs 
in their neighbourhood, who were not decisively bound 
to a particular party, and who on any great discussion 
voted as the arguments might incline. As regards the 
origin of the Spanish war, and the detention of the 


Spanish frigates, all these gentlemen appear to have 
cast in their lot with Pitt. The amendment of Grey 
was rejected by no less than 313 votes against 106. 

Much the same was the result in the House of Lords. 
There also, on the 11th of February, an Address was 
proposed by Lord Mulgrave, as Secretary of State, in 
approval of the course pursued. There also was brought 
forward an amendment which Lord Spencer moved and 
Lord Grenville supported. But only 36 Peers voted in 
its favour, while against it were arrayed 114. 

On the Additional Force Bill it was moved by Wind- 
ham, on the 21st of February, that this and other Acts 
should be referred to a Select Committee. Canning 
spoke in reply, and as Pitt reported to the King, with 
especial force and success. 1 The debate was cut short 
by an early division, and the motion was rejected by 
242 against 96. 

On the 6th of March the debate was renewed by 
Sheridan in a still more pointed form — a motion to 
repeal the Additional Force Bill. Then Pitt himself 
stood forth in its defence. He showed that in point of 
fact the Bill had not come into practical operation until 
the 14th of November last. He showed also, looking 
at the last three months, that on an average of each 
week there had been nearly two hundred recruits ob- 
tained. ' Thus,' he said, ' taking three months as an 
average, the result will be that, under the operation of 
the Bill, it will produce an annual addition of betwixt 
nine and ten thousand men. I ask, then, Sir, with 
such a statement as this before us, if we can think of 
listening to a proposition for repealing the Bill just 
at the moment when it shall come into full activity ? 
The Hon. gentleman has thought proper to say that not 
one man has been raised by the Bill, and the Eight 
Hon. gentleman maintained that its effects had been 
altogether inconsiderable. But, Sir, I will ask these 
gentlemen and the House, whether the effect which I 

1 See in my Appendix the King's reply, dated Feb. 22, 1805. 


have hinted at be not one of very considerable magni- 
tude ? — whether it be not, in fact, nearly equal to the 
whole of the recruits obtained by the ordinary means of 
recruiting ? ' 

But Pitt passed on to portray the common character 
of his opponent's speeches. * The Hon. gentleman 
seldom condescends to favour us with a display of his 
extraordinary powers of imagination and of fancy ; but 
when he does, he always thinks proper to pay off all 
arrears, and, like a bottle just uncorked, bursts all at 
once into an explosion of froth and air. All that his 
own fancy can suggest or that he has collected from 
others ; all that he can utter in the ebullition of the 
moment ; all that he has slept on and studied, are com- 
bined and produced for our entertainment. All his 
hoarded repartees, all his matured jests; the full con- 
tents of his common-place book ; all his severe invec- 
tives, all his bold, hardy assertions, he collects into one 
mass, which he kindles into a blaze of eloquence ; and 
out it comes altogether, whether or not it has any, even 
the smallest relation to the subject in debate.' 

This last passage, I may observe, is by no means 
fully given in the published Parliamentary Debates. I 
derive it in some part from the inscription under an 
excellent caricature by Gillray, which came out only 
four days afterwards, and which was entitled ' Uncork- 
ing Old Sherry.' Here Pitt appears, a corkscrew in his 
hand, and between his knees a bottle, out of which peeps 
the head of Sheridan. The ' froth and air ' is scattered 
all abroad. 

The Minister did not, however, entirely confine him- 
self to a defence of his own measure, or a description of 
Sheridan's eloquence. As Sheridan had expatiated on 
the general field of politics, so did Pitt also. As Sheri- 
dan had claimed credit for the numerous votes which 
he had given to Addington's administration, so Pitt on 
the contrary declared that in his judgment Sheridan's 
had been a hollow and insidious support. 


These words, levelled at a man of shining genius, 
already by some previous attacks incensed, were by that 
genius encountered, and flung back with the greatest 
skill. It may remind the reader of a similar attack 
and a similar retort twenty-two years before, with the 
very same antagonist 1 — the one attack near the outset, 
the other, alas, how near the close of Pitt's career ! 
Sheridan was extremely stung. It is told of him that 
while the debate was still proceeding, he went up into 
Bellamy's supper-room. There he ordered a bottle 
of Madeira, poured it into a bowl, and drank it off. 2 
Thus was he primed when, at nearly three in the 
morning, the other speeches had concluded, and Sheri- 
dan rose to reply. He adverted to the expression 
' insidious support,' which Pitt had used. ' I hope,' 
he said, ' it is not my character to give support of that 
description. I gave my support to the late administra- 
tion because I approved of many of their measures ; but 
principally was I induced to support them because I 
considered their continuance in office as a security 
against the return to power of the Eight Hon. gentle- 
man opposite, which ever appeared to me as the greatest 
national calamity.' 

The author of the Rivals was by no means satisfied 
with this single taunt. Putting forth all his admirable 
powers of satire, he drew a fanciful contrast between his 
own support of Addington and that which Pitt had 
given. He accused Pitt of having tapered off from his 
promised adherence as soon as he found that Addington 
was acquiring popularity. He accused him of com- 
bining for the overthrow of Addington with others, 
whom he meant also to betray. And he declared by a 
form of implication that Pitt had ' merited the con- 
tempt and execration of all good men.' The minute 
narrative which I have given of all these preceding 

1 Look back to vol. i. p. 77. 

2 Descriptive Account of Gillray's Caricatures, by Thomas 
Wright, Esq., p. 236, ed. 1851. 

1805 DIVISIONS. 299 

transactions will, I trust, have shown the reader how 
absolutely void of all foundation was this bitter diatribe. 
It may incline us here to say of Sheridan, as he once 
said of another Member, that he was indebted to his 
memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his 
facts. But it is no wonder if at the time a speech so 
pungent and so powerful found high favour with the 
disappointed and angry partisans who sat around him. 

Still, however, on the merits of the question — the 
Additional Force Bill — as on the merits of the Spanish 
War, there appeared a large preponderance of numbers 
on the side of Pitt. When Sheridan sat down, the 
House proceeded to divide, and with the following 
result : — 

For Mr. Sheridan's motion . . .127 
Against it . . . . . . 267 

Majority . . . . .140 

On another night Pitt, and Fox, and Sheridan, all 
three voted together, and yet were in the minority. 
This was on the renewed motion of Wilberforce for 
the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Pitt had earnestly 
advised his friend, considering the state of parties, to 
refrain from bringing it forward ; but Wilberforce, im- 
pelled by a solemn sense of duty, persevered. The two 
rival leaders were steady, but the adherents both of 
Pitt and Fox appear to have stayed away in consider- 
able numbers. 

The division was — 

For the amendment . . . .77 

Against it . . . . .70 

Majority against the Bill . . 7 

1 1 never felt so much on any Parliamentary occa- 
sion,' writes Wilberforce in his journal. 

On the 18th of February Mr. Pitt brought forward 


bis last Budget. There were vast expenses to provide 
for. The Army and Militia Estimates were above 
eighteen millions and a half. Large as was this sum, 
it fell a little short of the Vote in the preceding year. 
The Ordnance Estimates were nearly five millions, the 
Navy above fourteen millions and a half. The Miscel- 
laneous Services would require a million and a half. 
' But,' said Pitt, ' there is yet another article of Supply. 
.... Gentlemen are aware that we have been engaged 

in a Continental intercourse and correspondence 

It must be the wish of every man who hears me that 
this intercourse and correspondence should be so pur- 
sued as to restore peace upon grounds calculated to 
produce and establish that ultimate security which is 
the object of all our wishes and all our efforts. But 
seeing what we do see, and knowing what we do know, 
it would indeed, Sir, be rash and presumptuous in us to 
entertain an expectation that this great object can be 
attained without further sacrifices on our part. Feeling 
it to be my duty not to postpone the general Supply 
for the service of the year, I have thought it of extreme 
importance to make such an addition to it as to enable 
His Majesty to afford with effect any succours which it 
may be necessary to afford. I state them at five 

To provide for these certain Estimates and that pos- 
sible Subsidy, amounting on the whole to upwards of 
forty-four millions, besides the interest upon the public 
debts, it became necessary in the first place to continue 
all War Taxes, and, above all, the Property Tax, the 
produce of which for the year was reckoned by Pitt as 
6,300,000/. It became necessary to contract a new 
Loan of 20,000,000/. ; and to meet the interest upon 
that Loan it became necessary to impose new taxes to 
the amount of at least one million a year. 

The new taxes brought forward for this object by the 
Minister were of divers kind. There was an addition to 
the rates of postage of one penny for a single letter, of 


twopence for a double, and of threepence for a treble 
letter. There was an increase of the tax upon salt ; 
five shillings a bushel in addition to the ten already 
paid. There was an increase of duty, though according 
to different rates, on both the horses kept for pleasure 
and the horses kept for husbandry. 

' The last tax I have to propose,' said Pitt, ' is an 
increase in the duty upon Legacies. My first proposal 
will be to impose a small sum upon direct legacies on 
which no duty is paid now : the sum I wish is one per 
cent. Gentlemen will see that it must be difficult to 
estimate the amount of this tax. By a rough guess the 
amount of capital bequeathed in wills registered is 
annually about thirty millions. Deducting five millions 
for legacies charged on land, and five millions collater- 
ally, twenty millions will then remain, which, at one per 
cent., will give a produce of 200,000?. The next is to 
supply an omission in the Act which could not be 
intentional — I mean the Legacies charged on Land. 
I propose to subject them to the same tax, and 
that, I calculate, will yield 100,000?. The only other 
addition is on Legacies to strangers in blood. I pro- 
pose to raise the duty on Legacies of this description 
from eight to ten per cent., which will furnish a sum 
of 30,000?.' 

On the Budget night Mr. Fox was the only person, 
besides the Minister, who spoke, but there was a fuller 
debate on the night of the Eeport. Fox laid in his 
claim to controvert on a future day the policy as well 
as the amount or application of the Subsidy to Foreign 
Powers. He found fault with the taxes, and, above all, 
with the Tax upon Property. ' For my part,' he said, 
' I prefer taxes on wine, tea, or other articles of con- 
sumption, to proceeding on dangerous principles, taking 
by little and little from the property of the subject till 
the reduction is tantamount to the risk of the whole. I 
remember a fable which, to elucidate the force of habit, 
relates that a woman in a certain village had a calf 


whicb she accustomed herself to carry in her arms 
every day, and from the gradual increase was able to 
bear it when it came to be a large ox. The fable is a 
good one, but I do not like it in its application to the 
present case; for however we might be able to bear this 
little calf, we could not possibly bear the great fat ox it 
would grow to.' 

This argument as to the possible absorption of the 
entire national property, even though fortified by a 
good story, was dealt with by Mr. Pitt very shortly. 
For only one single sentence was heard from him in 
reply. ' I think it sufficient to quiet the Hon. Gentle- 
man's alarms to say, that in order to come to the point 
he stated we must continue at war no less than ninety- 
four years ! ' 

It may be added, that neither on that night, nor on 
any other, did Fox attempt to divide the House against 
the Taxes he condemned. They all passed with much 
facility, except only the Duty upon Husbandry Horses, 
against which the landed gentlemen combined. On the 
12th of March it was thrown out in a thin House by a 
small majority, the numbers being 76 against 73. Next 
day the Speaker, calling to see the Minister upon other 
business, mentioned this defeat. ' I shall be prepared,' 
said Pitt, ' with another tax to supply its place, to be 
carried through before Easter, about which time the 
Subsidy question will be ready.' 

Ten days afterwards, accordingly, Pitt brought 
forward what he called his Supplemental Budget. He 
proposed a great variety of small Duties to the aggre- 
gate amount of 400,000^. a year, and these he carried 
without difficulty. 

On the whole then, in the first two months and up- 
wards of the Session, the course of business had been 
very triumphant for the Ministry. There had been 
many other debates besides those I have enumerated, 
as on the Army Estimates, and on a Bill to suspend 
still further the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland. In 


most of these Mr. Pitt had only scant assistance from 
his colleagues in the House of Commons ; but his own 
speeches were very frequent, and maintained all their 
former ascendency. 

Such exertions, however, could not be made without 
a heavy strain upon his health and strength. He had 
hoped for an interval at Easter to go and drink the 
waters at Bath. There, as the following letter shows, 
he was secure of a cordial welcome, and of two most 
intelligent companions. 

Lord Harrowby to Mr. Pitt. 

6, Laura Place, Bath, 
March 31, 1805. 

Dear Pitt, — I have just heard from Richard ' that you 
cough and look ill, which I do not like at all ; hut I should 
have liked it much less if his intelligence were not accom- 
panied with an intimation that you talk seriously of a long 
Easter Recess, and propose spending it at Bath. This is a 
most excellent project, I hope I may say resolution ; and I 
trust you will not allow anything to divert you from it. If 
you do, you sin against your own conviction and experience ; 
and must, I fear, suffer much and severe punishment in the 
latter part of the Session. That will not, I hope, be long; 
but it may be sufficiently troublesome to make it very 
important that you should be a giant refreshed. 

We shall remain here at least till the middle of Easter 
week, at the end of which a rendezvous with Wyatt will 
carry me into Staffordshire. I depend upon your making 
use of me in getting you a house, unless you can be satisfied 
with a bedroom, dressing-cabinet, and parlour, all on the 
ground floor, which would be at your service, without in the 
slightest degree cramping us, either till you can suit yourself, 
or (which would be much better) as long as we remain. 

Youi^s very sincerely, Harrowby. 

Lady H. is angry with me for not saying how much 
pleasure it would give us to have you under our own roof, 
such as it is : as I tell her, que cela va sans dire. 

1 The Hon. llichard Ryder. 


But Mr. Pitt had here once again to postpone the 
care of health to that of business. The House of 
Commons could make no long adjournment at Easter. 
Still less could the Minister leave town. He was now 
on the brink of a transaction beyond comparison the 
most painful to him personally of any in his public 



Naval administration of Lord Melville — Tenth Report of the Com- 
missioners of Naval Inquiry— Ministerial differences — Whit- 
bread's Resolutions — Resignation of Lord Melville — Succeeded 
by Sir Charles Middleton — Discussions between Pitt and Lord 
Sidmouth — The King supports Pitt— The Tenth Report referred 
to a Select Committee — Lord Melville removed from the Privy 
Council — Revival of the Roman Catholic claims — Speeches of 
Grattan and Pitt — Diplomatic negotiations— Arrival of M. de 
Novosiltzoff in London— Treaty between Russia and England — 
Lord Melville impeached — Rejection of Whitbread's motion 
against Pitt — Final resignation of Lords Sidmouth and Bucking- 
hamshire — Ministerial arrangements— The King's decay of sight. 

Lord Melville, at the head of the Admiralty, had 
evinced his usual sagacity and his usual vigour. He 
had found the stores and materials for the navy scat- 
tered by the improvident system of his immediate 
predecessor. Here is one instance of the consequences 
as related by himself in the House of Lords : ' Let us 
see what was done by the late Board of Admiralty with 
respect to the building ships of the line from February, 
1801, to May, 1804. In that period it appears that 
five ships of the line were ordered to be built in the 
King's yards, and two in the merchant yards. But 
when I inquired into the state of these five ships of the 
line so ordered to be built in the King's yards, I found 
that not even the keel of any one of them had been 
laid down ; and the reason given for this delay was, 


that the ships could not be proceeded on without more 
materials and more hands.' ' There was strange incon- 
sistency too as well as strange improvidence. It ap- 
pears that on the 29th of December, 1802, Lord St. 
Vincent had written, in his own hand, to Sir Andrew 
Hamond, with a sharp rebuke in not having bestirred 
himself more actively, as ' urgent necessity ' required, to 
enter into contracts for building some seventy-fours in 
the merchants' yards. Sir Andrew did bestir himself 
accordingly, when, to his great astonishment, only a 
fortnight afterwards, he received an Order from the 
Board of Admiralty, perhaps in Lord St. Vincent's tem- 
porary absence, telling him that the measure could on 
no account be allowed ; that contracts were not to be 
made ; that ships of the line were not to be built any- 
where except in the King's yards ! 

It was now the part of Lord Melville to retrieve 
the errors of a most weak administrator, though victori- 
ous Admiral. He bought up in all directions materials 
of every kind, from timber down to hemp, for even 
hemp was wanting. He aroused a new activity in the 
works at the King's yards, and pending their revival, 
contracted for several seventy-four gun ships, to be built 
in the merchants' yards. The results of his naval ad- 
ministration, which began in May, 1804, were summed 
up by himself as follows, when he addressed the House 
of Lords in May, 1805 : ' So that the whole force either 
actually added or in a state of forwardness, appears to 
amount to one hundred and sixty-eight vessels more 
than there were on the day of my succeeding to the 
office of First Lord of the Admiralty.' Nor was this 
all : ' In the course of ten months, that is from the 
15th of May, 1804, to the date of the Eeturns now on 
your Lordships' table, six hundred and one vessels have 
been docked, repaired, and refitted.' 

During the administration of Mr. Addington there 

1 Debate in the House of Lords on the Earl of Darnley's mo- 
tion, May 24, 1805. 



had been some decline in the cordial feeling and the 
constant intercourse between Mr. Pitt and Lord Mel- 
ville. They were never again so intimate as they had 
been before. But Mr. Pitt ever estimated at the highest 
rate Lord Melville's talents and experience. If at the 
outset of his last Ministry he had been asked who 
among his Cabinet colleagues were likely to give him the 
most efficient aid, he would probably nave named, be- 
sides Lord Castlereagh in the Commons, Lord Harrowby 
and Lord Melville in the Peers. 

Nor was Pitt disappointed in his expectations of his 
early friend. The navy in Lord Melville's hands was, 
as I have shown, rapidly rising from its late depression, 
and becoming to the Government, in a party sense, a 
further claim to the public confidence and favour. It 
was natural, however, that in the same proportion as 
Lord Melville was serviceable to the Government he 
should be disrelished by the Opposition. It was natural 
that they should seize an occasion to strike him, if they 
could, a blow, and such an occasion was now most unex- 
pectedly afforded. 

To explain the transaction now before us, it must, in 
the first place, be remembered that at the close of 1802 
Lord St. Vincent, acting certainly from most laudable 
motives, had appointed a Commission of Naval Inquiry. 
The Commissioners sent in successively ten Reports. 1 
The first nine were for the most part of a technical cha- 
racter, and of little general interest ; but the tenth was 
understood, even before it was made public, to bear upon 
the conduct of Lord Melville as Treasurer of the Navy 
— a post which, in Mr. Pitt's first administration, he had 
held conjointly with other and higher offices. 

To the appearance, therefore, of this Tenth Report 
both parties in the State were anxiously looking. No 
man felt more anxious than Pitt himself. As it chanced, 

' The first ten Reports of the Commissioners are printed at 
length in the 3rd volume of the new series of Parliamentary De- 
bates, pp. 865-1212. 


Wilberforce was calling on him at his office, and press- 
ing him for the promised Order of Council against the 
Guiana Slave Trade, on the same morning that the first 
copy was brought in. ' I shall never forget,' says Wil- 
berforce,' the way in which he seized it, and how eagerly 
he looked into the leaves without waiting even to cut 
them open.' l 

The perusal no doubt must have caused him the 
utmost pain. In the first place it was clearly shown 
that Mr. Alexander Trotter, appointed Paymaster in 
that department by Lord Melville, had misapplied the 
public money. Sums derived from the revenue had 
been paid to his own account with his private bankers, 
Messrs. Coutts, and employed in his private ventures. 
Mr. Trotter subsequently urged to the Commissioners 
that, after all, the public had not sustained any loss 
from his use of the money issued for the naval service. 
But the Commissioners properly state that they cannot 
allow any weight to this observation. Mr. Trotter 
might have been unsuccessful in his speculations, or the 
bankers with whom he lodged the public money might 
have failed in business ; and in either case the loss 
would probably have fallen on the nation. 

Thus far the case is clear. It must also be admitted 
that Lord Melville, when he permitted, or at least did 
not forbid, Mr. Trotter to keep a part of the public 
money at his private banker's, gave an undue sanction 
to a lax and most pernicious system of account. So far 
as regards that point Lord Melville might be justly held 
culpable. But as regards the rest the case was other- 
wise, as Lord Melville's own letter perhaps will best 
explain. It was inserted in the Tenth Report. 

Lord Melville to the Commissioners of Naval Inquiry. 

Wimbledon, June 30, 1804. 
Gentlemen, — It is impossible for me to furnish you with 
the account you ask. It is more than four years since I left 

1 Life, by his Sons, vol. iii. p. 218. 
x 2 


the office of Treasurer of the Navy, and at the period of do- 
ing so, having accounted for every sum imprested into my 
hands, I transferred the whole existing halance to the ac- 
count of my successor. From that time I never considered 
any one paper or voucher that remained in my hands as of 
the smallest use to myself or any other person ; and conse- 
quently, being often in the practice, since I retired to Scot- 
land, of employing occasionally some time in assorting my 
papers, and destroying those that were useless, I am satisfied 
there does not exist any one material by which I could make 
up such an account as you specify. But independently of 
that circumstance, I think it right to remind you that dur- 
ing a great part of the time I was Treasurer of the Navy, I 
held other very confidential situations in Government, and 
was intimately connected with others. So situated, I did 
not decline giving occasional accommodation from the funds 
in the Treasurer's hands to other services not connected with 
my official situation as Treasurer of the Navy. If I had 
materials to make up such an account as you require, I could 
not do it without disclosing delicate and confidential trans- 
actions of Government, which my duty to the public must 
have restrained me from revealing. 

I have the honour, &c, Melville. 

It appears, then, that these advances of public 
money by Lord Melville as Treasurer of the Navy were 
connected with some questions of Secret Service at a 
most critical period of both Foreign and Home affairs. 
On the other hand, his adversaries did not scruple to 
assert that he had used these sums of money, or the 
interest from them, to his own private profit and emolu- 
ment. Such is an outline of the case on which, in the 
ensuing year, Lord Melville was brought to solemn trial 
before his Peers. As it seems to me, there is no good 
ground whatever to dispute the justice of the sentence 
which, on that occasion, the House pronounced. Then 
of the Peers present, a majority which on all the charges, 
ten in number, was large, and which on some of them 
was overwhelming, said ' Not Guilty on my honour.' — 
'Not Guilty' is the sentence which, as I think, the 
voice of History should re-echo. 


The charges against Lord Melville were indeed not 
only unsupported by his conduct, but also, it may be 
said, repugnant to his character. His faults were not 
at all of a mean and calculating kind. They were the 
very opposite of selfish and sordid. If he was unthrifty 
in his control of the public accounts, so to his detriment 
he was also in his own. 

I have here been led to speak of the case as it stood 
at its conclusion, after all the evidence was produced, 
after all the explanations were afforded. But I must 
now revert to it as it stood at its commencement on 
the publication of the Tenth Report. In fairness we 
are bound, as I think, to acknowledge that ever since 
Parliamentary parties have existed, scarce any Oppo- 
sition would have hesitated, waiving all further inves- 
tigation, to snatch up such a weapon and to aim it at 
their political foes. It became at once manifest to the 
Ministers that their colleague would be most seriously 
assailed. Mr. Whitbread, though as it chanced absent 
for some days, gave notice through his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Grey, that on the 8th of April he should bring 
forward a motion founded on the Tenth Report. He 
had at first designed a Committee of Inquiry, but 
emboldened by the spirit which he saw around him, 
he drew up ready to move a series of eleven Resolu- 
tions condemning in the strongest language the conduct 
of Lord Melville. 

Here is a note from Mr, Canning in preparation for 
the coming onset : 

Mr. Canning to Mr. Pitt. 

Somerset House, Saturday, March '23. 

Can you lend me the Reports of the Commissioners of 
1786 ? Those of 82 and of 97 I have, but those of 86 are 
not to be found at any bookseller's in town. 

Shall you have half an hour this morning, or in the 
earlier part of to-morrow — that is before three or four (as I 
dine at Blackheath) 1 


You are not aware of half the strength of the defence 
that may be made. 

If T. 1 and L d> M. 2 had either said everything or nothing, 
there would have been no difficulty. 

Ever affectionately yours, G. C. 

But though Canning himself -was firm, many others 
wavered. The very notice of the motion impending 
produced a ferment, and well nigh a schism, not only in 
the Ministerial party, but in the Ministry itself. Pitt 
was from the first resolved to defend his colleague. In 
vain did some of his personal friends in the House of 
Commons declare themselves undecided as to their own 
votes, and press him to leave Lord Melville to his fate. 
Wilberforce and Bankes especially went together to 
Downing Street upon this painful errand. As the 
former tells it, 'We saw Pitt on Melville's business, 
and talked to him above an hour ; Bankes very frank, 
and Pitt very good-humoured.' But they made no 
impression. ' In truth,' said Wilberforce long after- 
wards, c Pitt was chiefly led into supporting Melville by 
that false principle of honour which was his great fault.' 3 

Here Mr. Wilberforce was mistaken. It was not 
chiefly from a sense of honour, true or false, that Pitt 
proceeded. He believed his friend to be innocent of 
the main charges brought against him. He could not 
indeed deny a culpable laxity in the superintendence of 
Mr. Trotter's accounts; but he was quite sure, and so 
he said to Wilberforce, that there had been in Lord 
Melville nothing of personal corruption — in his own 
words, ' no real pocketing of public money.' It is 
strange that Wilberforce, who has recorded this saying 
also, did not perceive its application to Pitt's conduct in 
this case. For since Pitt was firmly convinced of Lord 
Melville's personal integrity in these transactions, he 
was bound not in honour only, but in conscience and in 
duty, to stand forth as his defender. 

1 Trotter. 2 Lord Melville 

3 Life, by his Sons, vol. iii. p. 218 and 220. 


Within the Cabinet there was no less dissension. 
Lord Sidmouth in the last year of his administration 
had become very hostile to Lord Melville. He had 
observed, with some resentment, the same statesman on 
whom he had conferred a peerage foremost among 
those who planned and who achieved his overthrow. 
Therefore, while desiring, as he always did, to act justly 
and fairly, he read the Tenth Report with an unfa- 
vourable bias lurking in his mind. When Mr. Pitt 
asked his opinion upon it, Lord Sidmouth answered 
that he thought it not only improbable but impossible 
for Lord Melville to clear himself with the public' ' I 
tell you this,' he said, ' without reserve, as an opinion 
that I have not as yet communicated to any other 
person. I have not talked upon the subject with my 
own friends to bind, or even to sound them, but I can 
have little doubt of their sentiments ; and I would warn 
you of the danger of committing yourself in a defence 
of Lord Melville, by which you will hurt yourself with 
the nation, and will make it necessary for me to resign 
my place in your Ministry.' 

' That would be destruction,' rejoined Mr. Pitt. ' If 
your friends in the House of Commons concur in the 
proposed Vote of Censure, it must and will be carried.' 

' Then,' said Lord Sidmouth, ' to avert the necessity 
on my part and on theirs, the only course to be taken 
is to refer the inquiry to a Select Committee.' l 

Nothing was decided at this interview. But Lord 
Sidmouth called again on Pitt to press once more the 
point of a Committee. Lord Hawkesbury from the 
first, and subsequently Lord Castlereagh, also judged 
this to be the most advisable course. Pitt at last ac- 
quiesced in it, provided Lord Melville's consent should 
be previously given. Lord Melville would of course 
have much preferred a direct negative to the Vote of 
Censure, but when he found that there was no prospect 

1 This conversation is given by the Speaker from Lord Sid- 
mouth's own month. (Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 546.) 


of a majority to such a negative, he agreed, though with 
reluctance, to the other plan proposed. A Cabinet 
being held at four o'clock on Sunday, the 7th of April, 
the Committee was finally adopted as the counter-pro- 
posal of the Government, and on that basis Lord Sid- 
mouth answered for the continued adhesion of his friends. 

Next day, the 8th, after an anxious ivhip, and in a 
most crowded House, Mr. Whitbread brought forward 
his motion in a speech of three hours. When he sat 
down, and when the question was put on the first of his 
eleven Resolutions, the Prime Minister rose. Seeking 
to keep together his majority, he did not argue to vin- 
dicate Lord Melville on each particular charge. He 
rather applied himself to show that in justice to the 
statesman accused, each charge required further evi- 
dence and explanations, such as a Select Committee 
would impart, before it was submitted to the final 
decision of the House. He concluded by moving the 
previous question, and declared that should this be 
carried, he would then further propose the appoint- 
ment of the Committee he had mentioned. 

Next to Pitt's came a speech from Lord Henry Petty ; 
a speech of signal ability, and fulfilling all that early 
promise which Pitt had been among the first to mark. 
Now compliments to Lord Henry came in from all sides. 
Thus from Tierney, who spoke later : ' It is a matter of 
pride to any man to be allowed to call himself the 
friend of such rising talents and eloquence.' 

Let me here interrupt my narrative to notice that 
such signs of success in Lord Henry must have cheered 
the closing hours of his father, Pitt's first political chief. 
The Marquis of Lansdowne, better known to posterity 
as the Earl of Shelburne, died within a month of this 
time. He expired on the 7th of May, 1805, at the age 
of sixty-eight. 

I now revert to the debate in the House of Com- 
mons of the 7th of April. In its progress both Mr. 
Fox, and an able ally whom he had received from 

1805 THE DEBATE. 313 

Ireland, Mr. George Ponsonby, exerted their powers of 
debate against Lord Melville. On the other hand, Mr. 
Spencer Perceval, Mr. Canning, and Lord Castlereagh 
followed the line of Mr. Pitt, and did their best for 
their absent friend. Still, however, the independent 
Members looked grave, and shook their heads. They 
had been accustomed by Pitt himself to the most scru- 
pulous precision and purity on all points of public 
money ; they did not like Lord Melville's case so far as 
they could understand it ; and for their guidance they 
looked mainly to the decision of Mr. Wilberforce, whose 
conscientious and impartial turn of mind commanded 
their just respect. 

It was, therefore, amidst no common thrill of expec- 
tation that late at night Mr. Wilberforce rose. He had 
waited until almost the last to hear and to weigh all the 
arguments adduced in support of a Committee. He sat 
at the extremity of the Treasury Bench, and he related 
long afterwards, that when he rose and turned towards 
the Chair, he looked just across Mr. Pitt, and observed 
him listen with intense earnestness to catch the first 
intimation of the course which he would take. ' It 
required no little effort,' added Wilberforce, ' to resist 
the fascination of that penetrating eye — from which 
Lord Erskine was always thought to shrink.' But he 
did not leave the House long in doubt. In his very 
first sentence he declared that he must vote for the 
original motion. He was strongly impressed, he said, 
with the culpable conduct of Lord Melville, and could 
not refuse to satisfy the moral sense of England. 

Such a speech from such a man was decisive of the 
question. It rallied to itself nearly all the independent 
members, as, for example, Sir Eobert Peel. At four in 
the morning the House in breathless silence proceeded 
to divide, when the numbers were found to be exactly 
equal : 

For the Motion . . .216 
Against it . . . 216 


Not for many years, I think, on a question of any 
thing like the same importance, had it been found 
requisite to appeal in this manner to the Speaker's 

Thus appealed to, the Speaker, in great anxiety of 
mind and after some minutes of doubt and deliberation, 
gave his vote in favour of Mr. Whitbread's motion. 
Thus the first of his Resolutions was declared to be 

The Opposition which all through this year had been 
used to small minorities, hailed their hard-won triumph 
with a burst of tumultuous joy. One red-coat squire, 
Sir Thomas Mostyn, raised what he called a view hollo, 
and cried out, ' We have killed the fox ! ' * So much 
for the judicial temper of some at least among the 
j udges ! 

The remaining Resolutions of Mr. Whi thread were 
next put and carried. Mr. Pitt strove to leave out the 
concluding words of the eleventh, stating that Lord 
Melville ' has been guilty of a gross violation of the law 
and a high breach of duty.' For these words Mr. Pitt 
wished to substitute ' has acted contrary to the inten- 
tions of the said Act.' Some debate ensued, and the 
gallery was cleared for a division ; but finding that he 
could not prevail, the Minister finally gave way without 
calling for the numbers. 

When the Resolutions had been carried, and while 
the strangers were still shut out, Mr. Whitbread rose 
again, and moved an address to the King for removing 
Lord Melville from his Councils. At the time when the 
gallery was again opened Mr. Pitt was proposing to put 
off any further consideration of the charge till the day 
but one after — that is, the Wednesday following. 'I 
will agree to the postponement,' cried Fox, 'provided 
the House be also adjourned to that day ; for I will not 
consent to the House doing any business whatever whilst 
the public affairs remain in the hands of a disgraced 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 338. 


Ministry.' Pitt answered with perfect calmness : ' Cer- 
tainly, in every view of the case it is better that the 
House should adjourn to Wednesday next.' Then, at 
half- past five in the morning, the House rose. 

Some further details of this important night are 
supplied by the Note Book of Lord Fitzharris, after- 
wards second Earl of Malmesbury, and then one of the 
Treasury Board : 

' I sat wedged close to Pitt himself the night when 
we were 216 to 216 ; and the Speaker, Abbot (after 
looking as white as a sheet, and pausing for ten 
minutes), gave the casting vote against us. Pitt imme- 
diately put on the little cocked hat that he was in the 
habit of wearing when dressed for the evening, and 
jammed it deeply over his forehead, and I distinctly 
saw the tears trickling down his cheeks. We had over- 
heard one or two, such as Colonel Wardle (of notorious 
memory), say they would see "how Billy looked after 
it." A few young ardent followers of Pitt, with myself, 
locked their arms together, and formed a circle, in 
which he moved, I believe unconsciously, out of the 
House ; and neither the Colonel nor his friends could 
approach him.' 

Before the close of the Tuesday Lord Melville took 
the only course which a man of honour could take when 
thus assailed — he resigned his office as First Lord of the 
Admiralty. When, therefore, the Commons met again 
on Wednesday, Pitt had no sooner come in and taken 
his seat on the Treasury Bench than he rose again and 
announced the fact. But Mr. Whitbread was not yet 
satisfied. He persevered in making his promised speech ; 
and he concluded with his promised motion — an Address 
to the King to remove Lord Melville from all offices 
held under the Crown, and from his Majesty's Councils 
and presence for ever. 

A long and interesting debate ensued. Some mem- 
bers of the Opposition threw out an idea that Lord 
Melville had resigned only to get rid of the motion then 


before them, and would be reinstated if once the motion 
were withdrawn. On that point Mr. Pitt, who spoke to 
that point only, was perfectly explicit : 

' I have no hesitation at all, accordingly, in saying 
that all idea of the Noble Lord's return to power is 
completely annihilated, and that no danger whatever 
need be apprehended from that quarter. When I make 
this frank declaration, I only wish it to be understood 
that this is not to be taken as continuing in force in case 
the Resolutions of Monday should, on future inquiries, be 
found to have been premature, and should accordingly 
be erased from the journals of the House. In any 
other case but this I think it is absolutely impossible 
that any Minister should ever think of recommending 
the Noble Lord to a share in His Majesty's councils. 
After this declaration, I do think that the motion of 
the Hon. gentleman might be dispensed with, without 
at all losing sight of the object he professes to have in 

As the debate proceeded, it became quite clear, and 
so the Speaker notes, that the House was not prepared 
for so strong a vote until the rest of the inquiry had been 
gone through. Seeing this, Mr. Whitbread withdrew 
his motion. But it was agreed unanimously to lay the 
former Resolutions before His Majesty, and to carry 
them up by the whole House. Pitt gave notice that 
next day after that duty had been performed, he would 
move the adjournment of the House for the Easter 
Recess of one fortnight only. 

Next day, accordingly, the Speaker followed by many 
Members went up with the Resolutions to St. James's. 
None of the Ministers were present, nor yet the chiefs 
of the Opposition ; neither Fox, nor Grey, nor Sheridan, 
nor Windham, nor Thomas Grenville. Whitbread sent 
an apology alleging indisposition. Then the House 
adjourned until the 25th. 

Thus fell from his high estate Henry Dundas, Lord 
Viscount Melville. He fell, but he carried with him as 


he well deserved the warm attachment of his friends. 
In his own native country above all, and for many years 
after he had ceased to be, his name was — may I not 
say is? — held in grateful honour. So late as 1826 we 
find no less a man than Sir Walter Scott compare him 
much to his advantage with some of his successors in 
office : ' Ah ! Hal Dundas, there was no truckling in 
thy day!' 1 

The question was now by whom to supply his place 
at the Admiralty. Several names were suggested to 
Pitt by Lord Sidmouth and others of his colleagues. 
The object of Lord Sidmouth was to appoint Lord 
Buckinghamshire, Lord Hawkesbury, or some person 
already in office, so as to make room for one of his 
friends or relatives, Bond, Bragge Bathurst, or Hiley. 
It was an object which, from the terms of his accession 
to the Government, he was perfectly well entitled to 
pursue, but which in the actual stress of that Govern- 
ment he might have done better to postpone. 

Pitt on his part was greatly pained to see interrupted 
the measures in full progress for the economical and 
vigorous administration of the navy in time of war. In 
planning these measures, now not far from their com- 
pletion, Lord Melville had much relied on a deserving, 
though not distinguished Admiral, Sir Charles Middle- 
ton. As I have elsewhere mentioned, Sir Charles had 
been one of the very first to combine with Wilberforce 
for the abolition of the Slave Trade 2 -on that point, as 
on some others, a striking contrast to Lord St. Vincent, 
than whom the Slave Trade to the close had no more 
eager or more thorough-going friend. Though now past 
fourscore, Sir Charles had still considerable energy both 
of body and mind. 

Since then, as Wilberforce puts it, perhaps a little 
too strongly, ' Lord Melville's plans for the naval force 
of the kingdom were in fact Sir Charles's,' it seemed to 

1 Diary, March 1, 1826. Life, by Lockhart, vol. viii. p. 273. 

2 See vol. i. p. 291. 


Pitt, that as a temporary, though not lasting appoint- 
ment, Sir Charles's might l>e upon the whole the best. 
Within a few months Sir Charles might complete the 
administrative measures which he had aided in planning, 
and by that time the storm against the Government 
raised by the Tenth Report would no doubt have passed 

It was natural, considering the high esteem of Lord 
.Melville for Sir Charles Middleton, to suppose that Lord 
Melville had advised his appointment. Sir Charles 
himself was under the belief that he had done so. But 
we have the direct assertion of Mr. Pitt to the contrary. 
Mr. Pitt stated that the idea was entirely his own, and 
altogether independent of or anterior to any opinion that 
Lord Melville had expressed. ! 

The following correspondence ensued. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Sidmouth. 

Downing Street, Sunday night, 
April 21, 1805. 

Dear Lord Sidmouth, — It is become impossible to delay 
longer the decision respecting the Admiralty; and after 
weighing all the alternatives, I end at last in thinking that 
the appointment of Sir Charles Middleton (though not with- 
out some objections) is, on the whole, the best for the essen- 
tial and pressing points of the naval service at this moment, 
and liable to less inconvenience than any other that has pre- 
sented itself. I am therefore writing to-night to the King, 
to submit to him this opinion as the best I can form. I 
wish there was more chance than I am afraid there is of 
your thinking that I have decided right. 

A Cabinet is summoned for twelve to-moi-row, in conse- 
quence of the further communications which we received 
yesterday from Woronzow, of the same date with those of 
Lord G. Leveson, but more particular and much more pro- 
mising. Is there any chance of your coming to it before you 
set out to Windsor 1 

Yours affectionately, W. Pitt. 

1 Compare on this point Wilbcr/arcc'g Life, vol. iii. p. 223, witli 
Lord Sid mouth' s, vol. ii. p. 364. 


Lord Sidmouth to Mr. Pitt. 

Richmond Park, April 22, 
i past 12. 

My dear Sir, — I deplore the choice which you have made. 
It will, I fear, have the effect of weakening and lowering 
the Government, at a time when it is peculiarly important 
to give it additional strength, and to raise its character. To 
me it is a decisive proof that my continuance in office could 
neither be useful to the public, nor honourable to myself : an 
opinion to which I have long been compelled to incline, and 
which is confirmed by this arrangement and the circum- 
stances with which it is attended. My own earnest wish is 
to withdraw from public life. ..... 

Yours affectionately, Sidmouth. 

On the same day we find Lord Sidmouth write to his 
brother Hiley that the selection of Sir Charles was most 
objectionable, as he said it was ' to forego the means 
of making an arrangement conformable to the pledge 
given to me in December last.' On this ground and 
on some others, Lord Sidmouth thought himself fully 
justified in having resigned, and in that resignation 
he was next day joined by his follower the Earl of 

Mr. Pitt and Lord Sidmouth were now meeting at 
Windsor Castle, where there was an installation of 
Knights of the Garter, the first since July, 1771, and 
conducted on a scale of great magnificence. The two 
statesmen had then the opportunity of some private talk, 
and the Prime Minister earnestly pressed his colleague 
to reconsider his determination. Meanwhile it was 
hoped by the friends of both parties that the affair would 
be kept private. But it was not. It was publicly 
canvassed at the annual Academy Dinner upon the 27th. 
' I was well electrified,' so next day wrote Auckland to 
Abbot, c when I found that a secret on which you and 
I had not ventured to speak, even to each other, was 
well known in an assembly of two hundred politicians 
and painters.' 


Next day, however, the two statesmen met at Rich- 
mond Park, and had a full discussion. Lord Sidmouth 
on his part and on Lord Buckinghamshire's was pre- 
vailed upon to remain in office. ' I have consented to 
make the experiment,' he said. This he did on three 
conditions. He was to be at liberty to tell his friends : 
first, that Sir Charles's appointment was only temporary; 
secondly, that Mr. Pitt was determined to give to the 
public the full benefit of the Reports of Naval Inquiry ; 
and thirdly, that Lord Sidmouth's friends should be 
free to vote as they pleased, and that every considera- 
tion should be shown to their 'just and admitted pre- 
tensions.' 1 

The King at this time declared in writing, that had 
any disunion arisen in the Cabinet, he should have 
decidedly taken part with Mr. Pitt, as he 'has every 
reason to be satisfied with his conduct from the hour of 
his returning to his service.' 2 

Meanwhile the appointment of Sir Charles had been 
sanctioned by the King, and formally made. He was 
raised to the peerage as Lord Barham, with remainder 
to his daughter and only child, who had married Sir 
Gerard Noel. 

Meanwhile also the House of Commons had met 
again, and had immediately resumed the business of Lord 
Melville. On the very first night Mr. Whitbread rose 
to inquire whether the Right Hon. gentleman opposite 
intended to recommend to His Majesty to expunge the 
name of Lord Melville from the list of the Privy Council. 
Pitt answered that he had no such intention. It seemed, 
he said, to be the sense of the House, when the affair 
was last discussed, that a removal from any place of trust 
and confidence would be sufficient till further light was 
thrown upon the subject by the investigations of a Select 

1 Life, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 364 ; and Diaries of Lord Col- 
chester, vol. i. p. 554. 

2 Letter dated April 30, 1805. Sec Appendix. 


Whitbread rose at once to announce that he would 
raise the Privy Council question on a future day ; and 
he then proceeded to move that the Tenth Keport should 
be referred to a Select Committee. Pitt said that he 
entirely approved of the reference, but desired that it 
should be confined to certain points in the Tenth Report ; 
for since, as he understood, the Hon. gentleman designed 
to move for a prosecution by the Attorney-General on 
certain other points in that Report, the two modes of 
procedure ought certainly not to be concurrent in their 

A long debate ensued upon this subject, but, on 
dividing, Pitt prevailed by 229 votes against 151. He 
prevailed also the same evening, by 251 against 120, 
that the Committee should be chosen by ballot, and not 
proposed by name. On the 30th of April the members 
so chosen were accordingly appointed, though not with- 
out another sharp debate ; and the Committee was then 
at liberty to proceed upon its labours. 

The case of Lord Melville, like almost every other 
important question when freely discussed, came, as it pro- 
ceeded, to be mixed up and entangled with many subordi- 
nate details. There was presented an Eleventh Report 
from the Commissioners of Naval Inquiry. There was a 
charge, first urged by Mr. Grey, of a libel on the House 
by the Oracle newspaper, which had warmly espoused 
Lord Melville's cause ; and the editor, Mr. Peter Stuart, 
was committed to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. 
There was also made public a case of the year 1797, 
when Mr. Pitt, without, as was alleged, due sanction of 
law, though with Mr. Dundas's consent, had borrowed 
upon security 40,000^. surplus of Naval money, to en- 
able Messrs. Boyd and Benfield, as contractors, to make 
good an instalment due upon their loan. On this affair 
Mr. Pitt himself gave evidence before the Select Com- 
mittee ; and it afterwards formed, as will be seen, the 
subject of a separate motion in the House of Com- 



The motion of Mr. Whitbread on the Privy Council 
stood fixed for the 6th of May. Some persons perhaps 
may think as did the King : — * It is unbecoming the 
character of Englishmen, who naturally, when a man is 
fallen, are too noble to pursue their blows.' But at the 
time there were many Members inclining to carry to the 
utmost their war against Lord Melville. From several 
quarters did Pitt receive intimations that in all proba- 
bility he would be again defeated. Still he was deter- 
mined at all hazards to sustain his early friend. At this 
juncture, however, he received a letter as follows: — 

Lord Melville to Mr. Pitt. 

Wimbledon, May 5, 1805. 
My dear Sir, — From the accounts in the newspapers of 
what passed in the House of Commons on the 8th and 10th 
April, and from your own opinion at that time, I had been 
led to suppose that the views of my opponents were satisfied, 
and that it was not likely that I should be exposed to any 
more hostile proceedings in Parliament. From your com- 
munication to me of yesterday, confirmed by conversations I 
have had with others this day, I am satisfied that your ex- 
pectations have been too sanguine, and that the motion of 
to-morrow will be supported by several leading persons in 
the House whom you had considered as likely to act a dif- 
ferent part. These circumstances have induced me maturely 
to examine this subject in all its bearings; and on the most 
impartial review I can take of it, my decided opinion is, if 
you are satisfied that it is really the sentiment of a numerous 
body of the House of Commons that, after what they have 
voted, it is improper that my name should remain on the 
list of Privy Councillors, I conceive it to be your duty to 
give that advice to His Majesty which tends most to streng- 
then this Government, and secure to it the confidence of the 
House of Commons. I will not disguise from you that this 
opinion is not altogether free from considerations of a per- 
sonal nature. I trust I have fortitude sufficient to enable 
me to bear up against any wrong, but you are enough ac- 
quainted with the interior of my family to know how galling 
it must be to every domestic feeling I have to witness the 


unremitting distress and agitation which those dehates, so 
full of personal asperity, must naturally produce on those 
most nearly connected with me. 

I am, <fec., Melville. 

This letter shows how generous was in truth Lord 
Melville's mind — how constantly his character inclined 
him to think of others rather than himself. In conse- 
quence of his counsels, Pitt gave way to the storm. 
When therefore, on the morrow, Whitbread rose to 
bring on his motion, Pitt rose to interrupt him, de- 
claring that he had a communication to make. Whit- 
bread stood on his right, and insisted on finishing his 
speech. Then Pitt rose again. ' I wished to state,' he 
said, ' that the object which the Hon. gentleman has in 
view is already accomplished. I have felt it my duty to 
advise the erasure of Lord Melville's name from the list 
of Privy Councillors. His Majesty has acceded to this 
advice, and on the first day that a Council is held, that 

erasure will take place I believe, Sir, it is in the 

recollection of the House that a motion similar to that 
now brought forward was produced by the Hon. gentle- 
man on the day to which he has alluded. At that time 
it did not appear to me to be the sense of the House 
that such a motion should be persisted in, or that it was 
at all necessary after the Resolutions of Censure on a 
former evening. Many gentlemen who concurred in 
these Resolutions thought that the wound which had 
been inflicted should not be aggravated by any unneces- 
sary circumstances of severity ; that when the justice 
of the public was satisfied, the feelings of the individual 
ought not to be outraged. Even several gentlemen on 
the other side of the House did not seem to wish that 
the motion should be pushed to a division. The motion 
was accordingly withdrawn. . . . Since that time, how- 
ever, in consequence of the notice of the Hon. Member 
to renew his motion, I have felt it my duty to ascertain 
what is the prevailing feeling of gentlemen upon the 
subject; I have had occasion to ascertain the senti- 

Y 2 


ments of respectable gentlemen on both sides of the 
House, and I have seen reason to believe that the step 
to which the motion of the Hon. Member is directed 
was considered by them expedient. I confess, Sir, and 
I am not ashamed to confess it, that whatever may be 
my deference to the House of Commons, and however 
anxious I may be to accede to their wishes, I certainly 
felt a deep and bitter pang in being compelled to be the 
instrument of rendering still more severe the punish- 
ment of the Noble Lord.' 

It was mentioned to me by Lord Macaulay in the 
course of conversation that he had heard accounts of 
this scene from several persons who were present. 
From these he has vividly described it in his short 
biography: 'As Pitt uttered the word " pang," his lip 
quivered ; his voice shook ; he paused ; and his hearers 
thought that he was about to burst into tears. He 
suppressed his emotion, however, and proceeded with 
his usual majestic self-possession.' 

Fox, who was himself remarkable for warmth of 
feeling towards his friends, might well, I think, have 
been touched with the tokens of the same in Pitt. He 
might well have forborne from pressing further, at least 
upon that day, a point which was in truth already 
gained. But, rising next, he began with a cold sneer, 
and proceeded with a bitter invective. * Since the 
Right Hon. gentleman tells us that at last he has 
condescended to remove Lord Melville from his Privy 
Council, I would wish to know whether that has been 
done in consequence of the Resolutions of the House of 
Commons?' Such was his first sentence, and here is 
his last : ' I can assure the House that there is every 
symptom of the country being seriously agitated, and 
that it will not readily place much confidence in those 
who have exerted themselves so much to screen a 
delinquent, though they have at last been obliged to 
give him up.' 

The taunts of Mr. Fox that night were no doubt 

1805 FOX'S speech. 325 

very galling to Lord Melville's friends. They drew up 
Lord Melville's nephew, the Secretary at War, who, 
with great imprudence, ventured upon some taunts in 
return. He observed that the late Lord Holland, as 
Paymaster of the Forces, had not scrupled to make 
large sums by the use of the balances remaining in his 
hands. He observed that Mr. Fox had, through his 
father, participated in these profits, and had spent them 
for the most part in his youthful gambling. Such Tu 
quoque arguments, as they are called at Eton, appear 
by no means worthy of Lord Melville's character and 
name. Fox, with unruffled temper and most admirable 
readiness, turned them back full upon Lord Melville's 
friends. There was an Act of Parliament passed in 
1 785, prohibiting any further profits from the use of 
the balances in the hands of the Treasurer of the Navy, 
and there was a Warrant from the King, augmenting, 
for that very reason of the abolition of perquisites, the 
Treasurer's salary. ' If then,' said Fox, ' as the Eight 
Hon. gentleman alleges, it was criminal in a public 
officer to make use of the public money for his own 
private profit where there was no Act of Parliament 
against it, a fortiori it must have been still more 

criminal after the Act had passed I have, to be 

sure, gambled a good deal. My father, no doubt, left 
me a large fortune. But how the Right Hon. gentle- 
man can infer that my manner of spending that 
fortune affords any proof of my connivance in what he 
considers my father's improper method of obtaining 
it, I must leave it to the House to conjecture.' 

The object of removing Lord Melville from the 
Privy Council being thus attained, his opponents could 
take no further step until the Select Committee had 
reported. There ensued as of necessity some pause in 
these proceedings. But meanwhile another question, 
of still higher import, was debated. 

The Roman Catholics of Ireland had felt and seen 
in 1801 that the obstacle in the way of their claims 


was for the time insuperable. During some years, 
therefore, they were for the most part inclined to wait. 
But by degrees their impatience grew, and it was 
further stimulated by some of the Opposition chiefs in 
England. So early as November, 1803, we find Fox 
and Fitzwilliam eagerly press to bring on this great 
cause in the Session then before them. ' But Sheridan,' 
so writes Fox, * is furious against stirring a question 
which will embarrass himself.' ' 

It was not till the administration of Pitt and the 
Session of 1805 that the effort was in earnest made. 
The Eoman Catholic chiefs had held several meetings 
at Dublin, under the presidency of Lord Fingal. They 
had agreed to send over a Deputation of five to London, 
and to present a petition to both Houses. 

On the 12 th of March the Deputation thus de- 
spatched had an interview with Mr. Pitt, and asked 
him to present their petition. He answered them as 
they expected, — that far from his urging their request 
under present circumstances, he should feel it his duty 
to resist it. Next they applied to Mr. Fox, who accord- 
ingly presented their petition to the House of Commons 
on the 25th, as on the same day Lord Grenville did 
also to the House of Peers. 

On the 10th of May, in due course, according to the 
notice given, Lord Grenville in the Peers, as on the 
13th Mr. Fox in the Commons, moved to consider 
the petition so presented. In the Peers there was a long 
and weighty debate of two nights, the last extending 
till near six in the morning. Lord Hawkesbury and 
Lord Sidmouth especially spoke of the question as one 
that at no time and under no circumstances ought to be 
conceded. The division gave, including proxies, only 
49 Peers in favour of the motion, and 178 against it. 

In the Commons likewise the debate was continued 
for two nights. Mr. Fox, who began it, spoke three 
hours and a half. He was answered by Dr. Duigenan, a 

1 Correspondence, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iii. p. 434. 


gentleman of laborious learning - , who spoke two hours. 
Then rose a new Member, whom the House was im- 
patient to hear. This was no other than Henry Grattan, 
who had, at the request of his friends, surmounted his 
strong repugnance to sit in the Imperial Parliament, and 
who, not readily finding a seat from Ireland, had been, 
through the influence of Lord Fitzwilliam, placed in 
the seat of Burke as one of the Members for Malton. 

Mr. Grattan's speech was of above an hour and a half. 
It was listened to throughout with the utmost attention. 
The Speaker notes of it that the language was quaint 
and epigrammatic, with occasional flashes of striking 
metaphor. On the other hand, the manner, he says, 
was extremely conceited and affected, and the action too 
violent ; Grattan ' throwing his body, head, and arms 
into all sorts of absurd attitudes.' l The same strange 
action, it may be observed, attended him in all his 
harangues. Mr. Curran, in his later years, used to 
take him off in a manner irresistibly ludicrous ; bowing 
his head till it well-nigh touched the ground, and 
1 thanking God that he had no peculiarities of gesture 
or appearance.' 

It is pleasing to find true genius rise superior to 
such petty impediments. Lord Byron, who at this 
period used often to come from Harrow and attend the 
debates, says, that as he was informed (for on that night 
he was not present), it was for some minutes doubtful 
in the House of Commons whether to laugh at Grattan 
or to cheer. The debut of his predecessor Flood had 
been a complete failure under nearly similar circum- 
stances. But when the Ministerial part of our Senators 
had watched Pitt, their thermometer, for their cue, and 
saw him nod repeatedly his stately nod of approbation, 
they took the hint from their huntsman, and broke out 
into the most rapturous cheers.' 2 

1 Itiarics of Lord Colchester, vol. ii. p. 3. 

2 Life of Byron, by Thomas Moore, vol. ii. p. 211, eel. 1832. See 
also vol. iii. p. 234. 


It is said that the passage which first drew forth 
the approving nod or ' Hear ! hear ! ' of Pitt, is where 
Grattan dealt with the historical lore and acrimonious 
recapitulations of Dr. Duigenan. ' I rise,' he said, ' to 
rescue the Catholics from his attack, and the Protes- 
tants from his defence.' ' 

Pitt reserved his own speech for the second night. 
In the course of it he adverted to Grattan's as fraught 
4 with such a splendour of eloquence.' For himself he 
took precisely that course on which, four years back, 
he had determined. 

' Sir,' he said, ' I felt that in no possible case, pre- 
vious to the Union, could the privileges now demanded 
be given, consistently with a due regard to the Protes- 
tant interest in Ireland, to the internal tranquillity of 
that kingdom, the frame and structure of our Consti- 
tution, or the probability of the permanent connexion 
of Ireland with this country. It is true, Sir, that after 
the Union I saw the subject in a different light; and 
whilst that event was in contemplation I did state, as 
the Hon. Gentleman says, that the measure would make 
a material difference in my opinion ; but he has also 
stated what is very true, that I did not make a distinct 
pledge. On the contrary, I believe the line of argu- 
ment I took was, that if it should be thought right to 
give what the Catholics required, it might be given after 
the Union with more safety to the Empire ; or if it were 
thought proper to refuse giving it, that it might then be 
refused without producing those disastrous consequences 
which might have been apprehended before the Union. 
I come, then, Sir, to the present discussion perfectly free 
and unfettered. I certainly was of opinion that under 
a united Parliament those privileges might be granted 
under proper guards and conditions, so as not to produce 
any danger to the Established Church or the Protestant 
Constitution — and I remain this day of that opinion ; 
and I still think, if from other circumstances there was 

1 JJ/c of Grattan, by his (Son, vol. v. p. 262. 

1805 • PITT'S SPEECH. 329 

no objection to complying with the demands of the 
Catholics, and if by a wish they could be carried into 
effect, I own, Sir, I see none of those dangers which 
have been urged by some gentlemen, nor do I think that 
the introduction of a certain proportion of Catholics 
into the Imperial Parliament would be likely to be pro- 
ductive of any influence or effect detrimental or in- 
jurious to the welfare of the State, or the safety and 
security of the Constitution. But, Sir, in delivering this 
frank opinion, I do not mean wilfully to shut my eyes 
to this conviction, that a Catholic, however honourable 
his intentions may be, must feel anxious to advance the 
interests of his religion — it is in the very nature of 
man ; he may disclaim and renounce this wish for a 
time, but there is no man who is at all acquainted with 
the operations of the human heart who does not know 
that the Catholic must feel that anxiety whenever the 
power and the opportunity may be favourable to him. 
But if these guards and conditions to which I have 
alluded had been applied, and which, could my wishes 
have been accomplished, it would have been my endea- 
vour to have applied, I firmly believe no danger would 
have existed, and no injury could have been appre- 

' This, Sir, was the view in which I considered this 
most important subject — these were the objects which 
I wished to attain ; but circumstances, unfortunate cir- 
cumstances in my opinion, rendered it at that period 
impossible to bring forward the measure in the way in 
which I then hoped it might be practicable to bring it 
forward — in the only way in which I think it ought at 
any time to be brought forward ; in the only way in 
which it could be brought forward with advantage to 
the claims of those whose petition is now under conside- 
ration, or with any hope of reconciling all differences, 
of burying all animosities, and of producing that per- 
fect union, in the advantages of which gentlemen on all 


sides so entirely concur. What the circumstances were 
to which I allude as having at that time prevented me 
from calling the attention of Parliament to this subject, 
in the manner and with the prospects which I wished, it 
is not now necessary for me to state. All the explana- 
tion which I thought it my duty to give, I gave at that 
time — more I do not feel myself now called upon to 
give ; and nothing shall induce me to enter into further 
details upon this subject. I shall therefore now content 
myself with stating that the circumstances which made 
me feel that it was then improper to bring forward this 
question, and which led to the resignation of the then 
administration, have made so deep, so lasting an im- 
pression upon my mind, that so long as those circum- 
stances continue to operate, I shall feel it a duty 
imposed upon me, not only not to bring forward, but 
not in any manner to be a party in bringing forward or 
in agitating this question. 

• ••••• • 

' I must say that at the present moment I see little 
chance — I may rather say, I see no chance of its being 
carried at all. If, then, Sir, the question is not now 
to be carried, I think that to agitate it under such cir- 
cumstances will only tend to revive those dissensions 
which we wish to extinguish, and to awaken all that 
warmth and acrimony of discussion which has hereto- 
fore prevailed.' 

Dividing at past four in the morning, the numbers 
were — 

For Mr. Fox's motion . . 1 24 
Against it . . . . 336 

Majority . 212 

Through the whole course of this winter and spring, 
while thus busily engaged in Parliamentary debates, 
Pitt was no less intent on diplomatic negotiations. It 
was his object that England should cease to stand alone, 

1805 M. NOVOSILTZOFF. 331 

as she had during the last few years ; that she should, 
on the contrary, ally herself with other great Powers 
against the overweening dominion of France. The 
differences which in the course of the past year had 
sprung up between the Courts of Paris and of Peters- 
burg were highly auspicious to his views. The Emperor 
Alexander began to appreciate and to seek the concert 
of England. M. de Novosiltzoff, one of the statesmen 
foremost in His Majesty's confidence, was sent to 
London, and had several interviews with Mr. Pitt. 

As may well be supposed, M. Novosiltzoff did not 
fail to transmit to his Court full reports of all that Mr. 
Pitt said. A copy of these reports has since found its 
way to France, and has been seen by M. Thiers. We 
learn from it that the English Minister condemned in 
strong terms any idea of imposing a new Government 
on France. We must wait (he said) and let that country 
decide for itself. We must above all be careful in any 
proclamations we may issue, to pledge ourselves in the 
strongest terms to protect the officers of the army in the 
continuance of their rank, and the acquereurs de biens 
nationaux in the preservation of their property. So 
important, indeed, did this last point seem to Mr. Pitt, 
that he declared himself ready to make from the Eng- 
lish revenue a provision (such was his very word) to 
indemnify the Emigrants who had remained around the 
Bourbon Princes, and thus to deprive them of all in- 
ducement to disturb the new proprietors of the biens 
nationaux. ' And thus,' adds M. Thiers, ' the famous 
measure of Indemnity to the Emigrants was revolved 
in the mind of Mr. Pitt twenty years before the time 
when it was voted in the French Chambers. 1 

The schemes which M. Novosiltzoff brought with 

1 Hist, du Consulat et de V Empire, vol. v. p. 342. I regret that 
these Russian reports have not been published in extenso. A Me- 
morandum, dated Jan. 19, 1805, and presented by Mr. Pitt to the 
Russian ambassador in London, has found a place in Schoell's Col- 
lection, and is appended by Sir A. Alison to the 39th Chapter of his 
History of Europe. 


him to London appear to have been of the crudest 
kind. He desired to propose what he called 'an alliance 
of mediation,' of which Russia was to be the chief. But 
his views were greatly modified by his intercourse with 
Mr. Pitt, and on his return to Petersburg he induced 
his colleagues and his Sovereign to modify theirs also. 
On the basis of Pitt's opinions and suggestions a treaty 
between Russia and England was now concluded. It 
was signed at Petersburg on the 1 1 th of April by Lord 
Granville Leveson on the part of England, by Prince 
Adam Czartorisky and M. Novosiltzoff, on the part of 

In this document the two contracting Powers first 
lamented the state of suffering in which Europe was 
placed by the ambition of the Government of France, 
and declared themselves anxious to put a stop thereto 
without waiting for further encroachments. They would 
endeavour to form a general league of the Powers of 
Europe, and to collect upon the Continent a force of five 
hundred thousand effective men. The objects of this 
league were to be : The evacuation of the Hanoverian 
territory and of all Northern Germany ; the independence 
of Holland and of Switzerland ; the re-establishment of 
the King of Sardinia in Piedmont, with an increase of 
territory ; the future security of the kingdom of Naples, 
and the complete evacuation of Italy, the isle of Elba 
included, by the French forces ; and lastly, the estab- 
lishment of an order of things in Europe which might 
present a solid barrier against future usurpations. For 
these objects England agreed to contribute, not only 
troops and ships, but subsidies also. And if the league 
were formed, no member of it was to conclude a peace 
with France but by consent of the rest. 

This treaty, it may be noticed, was much more pro- 
spective than positive, depending as it did on other 
alliances that were yet to form. It did not prevent the 
Russian Government from still seeking an amicable 
accommodation with the French, and for that object 


sending M. de Novosiltzoff forward to Berlin. Nor did 
it withhold the Court of Petersburg from still expressing 
its jealousy of England upon several points. There was, 
above all, the point of Malta, upon which Pitt felt it 
desirable to vindicate, not merely through Lord Mul- 
grave, but from himself, the course which England had 
pursued and was pursuing. 

Mr, Pitt to M. Novosiltzoff. 

Downing Street, June 7, 1805. 

I certainly have always felt that, as long as the execution 
of the Treaty of Amiens was in question, this country had 
no right to look to any object [touching Malta] but that of 
endeavouring to secure for it, if possible, a real and secure 
independence according to the spirit of that treaty. But a 
fresh war, produced by the conduct of France, having once 
cancelled that treaty, I cannot consider this country as 
bound by any intentions it has professed with a view to the 
execution of the treaty ; and on general grounds of modera- 
tion and justice, I cannot think this country called upon to 
offer such an addition to all the other sacrifices of acquisitions 
made during the war, especially in return for concessions on 
the part of France which can afford no adequate security for 

The possession of Malta appears to be of the most essen- 
tial importance to great and valuable interests of our own, 
and to our means of connection and co-operation with other 
Powers. Some naval station in the Mediterranean is abso- 
lutely indispensable ; but none can be found so desirable and 
secure as Malta. Notwithstanding this sentiment, however, 
if the arrangement proposed respecting Malta could secure 
by negotiation an arrangement really satisfactory on the 
Continent, and particularly adequate barriers both for Italy 
and for Holland, and if we could obtain the only substitute 
for Malta which we think could at all answer the purpose 
(namely, Minorca), we are ready to overcome our difficulties 
on this point ; but on any other ground the sacrifice is one 
to which we cannot feel ourselves justified to consent. It 
has, therefore, been impossible to ratify that part of the 10th 
article which relates to this subject, and which was referred 


hither for decision. We have also found ourselves under 
the painful necessity of protesting against any step which can 
lead to making our established principles of maritime law 
the subject of any revision or discussion. We have endea- 
voured to explain frankly and without reserve the motives 
which guide us on both points. They are, to our own minds, 
convincing and conclusive. 

The Treaty of the llth of April was by no means 
as yet divulged. It was not to be carried into effect 
unless the accession of Austria, and, if possible, of 
Prussia, were first obtained. Under these circumstances, 
Pitt felt that he could not make any positive communi- 
cation to the House of Commons. But in his Budget 
he had already, as we have seen, left himself a margin 
of five millions for the sake of foreign subsidies ; and 
he desired that the Session should not close without a 
vote for the immediate application, if required, of a 
large part of this large sum. With this view a Royal 
Message was sent down to both Houses on the 19th of 
June ; and on that Message the Minister founded his 
proposal that a sum of three millions and a half should 
be placed at His Majesty's disposal for such objects. 

The Royal Message was encountered by Grey with 
a proposed Address, that His Majesty would be pleased 
not to prorogue his Parliament until he should be 
enabled to afford it more full information with respect 
to foreign affairs. Fox spoke on the same side with his 
usual ready skill. * Since,' he said, ' the answer cannot 
be made at the present period of the Session, let the 
Session be made to continue till the answer comes. 
Since the answer cannot be made to accommodate the 
Session, let the Session be made to accommodate the 

answer When a Minister says that it is his duty 

to give no information, I must reply that it is my duty 
to give no money.' Nevertheless the motion of Grey 
was negatived by 261 votes against 110, and the pro- 
posal of Pitt was, without a division, adopted. 

The Committee on the Tenth Report had been most 


desirous to examine Lord Melville, and Lord Melville 
himself was most desirous to be examined. But the 
Peers took fire on a point of privilege. They consulted 
precedents, and came to a vote that Lord Melville 
should only answer to the Committee upon points re- 
specting which the House of Commons had not passed 
any criminatory Resolutions against him. 1 Under this 
limitation his testimony could not in fact be tendered 
or received. The Committee had to frame their Report 
without hearing his defence. And the tenor of their 
Report was by no means favourable. They dwelt espe- 
cially on two sums, amounting together to upwards of 
20,000Z., which it was acknowledged that Lord Melville 
had received as Treasurer of the Navy, and had applied 
to other than naval purposes. 

Under such circumstances, and a new motion by 
Whitbread impending, Lord Melville addressed a letter 
to the Speaker, asking permission to appear before the 
House and to speak in his own vindication. The per- 
mission was granted, and he was admitted on the 11th 
of June. A chair for his reception had been placed 
within the Bar. He sat down and covered himself. In 
a few minutes he took off his hat, rose and proceeded 
to address the House. It was a sight that must have 
affected even those who had voted against him. To see 
him who had been for so many years next to Mr. Pitt 
the most powerful man in that assembly, now a culprit 
at its Bar — to hear the voice which had swayed the 
House on great public questions, now exerted to repel 
personal and degrading charges — was surely no light, 
no common reverse in the wheel of Fortune. As was 
said by Lord Melville himself in the course of his ad- 
dress : ' This is not such a conclusion as I had hoped 
for, and as I think I had a right to expect, to a long 
and laborious life devoted to my country's service.' 

Lord Melville spoke for two hours and twenty 

1 See the precedents from 1553 to 1804, adduced in the Lords' 
Journals of May 11, 1805. 


minutes. He then bowed and withdrew. In his state- 
ment he entered very fully into the charges made 
against him. He affirmed in the most solemn manner 
as he had already that the sum in question of 20,000£. 
was neither used nor meant to be used for any purpose 
of his own emolument. It was expended solely on public 
objects, by himself as a confidential servant of the 
Crown ; but how, he could not disclose ' without a great 
breach as well of public duty as of private honour.' ' I 
trust,' said Lord Melville in conclusion, 'that nothing 
in the course of this day has fallen from me in any 
degree disrespectful to the assembly which with their 
indulgence I have been permitted to address ; but I 
equally trust I cannot be liable to censure if I have not 
in any part of what I have said shown a disposition to 
deprecate, by humiliating submission, any of the future 
evils which may be in contemplation against me.' 

The reader of that speech at this distance of time 
may perhaps concur with me in thinking that it is 
marked by a becoming dignity and consciousness of 
innocence. But the impression on his hearers was far 
from favourable. It was thought too haughty and 
defiant. It was thought to give spirit to his enemies. 
It was thought to injure rather than improve his cause. 
So Speaker Abbot notes. Out of doors the violence had 
already risen higher still, and the old cry against * Place- 
men and Scotsmen ' had been in full force revived. 1 

When Lord Melville had withdrawn, Mr. Whitbread 
rose, and in a speech of two hours and a half moved his 
Impeachment. Mr. Bond on the other hand proposed 
his prosecution by the Attorney-General. That debate 
was adjourned. In the next, at half-past four in the 
morning the House divided. For the impeachment 
there were 195, against it 272. But the prosecution 
was after a keen contest carried by the narrow majority 
of nine, the numbers being 238 and 229. 

1 See on this point a remarkable letter from Francis Horner to 
Sir James Mackintosh (Memoirs, vol. i. p. 316). 


It had been hoped by Lord Melville's friends that 
both these motions might be equally rejected. But if 
one was to be carried, they preferred the form of Im- 
peachment to the form of prosecution. On the 25th, 
Mr. Leycester, who had been Chairman of the Select 
Committee, moved to rescind the former vote, and to 
proceed against Lord Melville by Impeachment. The 
Goverment supported his motion, and it was carried 
by 166 against 143. 

That vote was decisive of the form. Next day, the 
26th, Whitbread carried up the Impeachment to the 
Bar of the House, and named a Committee to draw up 
the articles. But the Session being now so near its close, 
the further progress was deferred until the ensuing year. 

In the midst of these debates upon Lord Melville, in 
which Pitt bore a principal share, there was another 
motion of Whitbread levelled at himself for his advance 
of 40,0007. in 1796 to Messrs. Boyd and Ben field. Pitt, 
however, clearly showed the necessity of that advance 
to the public service. The Hon. Henry Lascelles, at 
that time one of the two members for Yorkshire and 
subsequently the second Earl of Harewood, moved an 
amendment, affirming that this advance, ' though not 
strictly conformable to law, was highly expedient in the 
existing circumstances, and attended with the most 
beneficial effects.' This amendment seemed to meet 
exactly both the facts of the case and the feelings of the 
House. It was carried without a division, and a Bill of 
Indemnity to Mr. Pitt, which was founded upon it, sub- 
sequently passed neon. con. 

In his resistance to the attacks which were made 
upon Lord Melville, Pitt appears to have had the full 
sympathy of their former colleague at Dropmore. We 
find Lord Grrenville write to his brother Buckingham in 
the following terms : < You are not ignorant how much 
I dislike the greatest part of what is now going on, and 
certainly no part of it more than the attempt to decry 
all the Boards of Admiralty with which I have been 

VOL. III. z 


acting all through my life, for the purpose of raising up 
a false reputation to Lord St. Vincent, who may he, 
and I believe is, a very good admiral ; but whom I have 
never yet seen any reason to approve of, either as a 
politician or as a Minister. . . . It is high time for us 
to pull up if we do not mean to be hurried away into 
courses precisely the reverse of the whole tenor of our 
lives. For God's sake consider this more than you seem 
to have done yet. ' l 

Very different was the feeling of Lord Sidmouth's 
friends. They had voted with Mr. Pitt in the neck and 
neck division of the 8th of April. But in the subse- 
quent conflicts they were all found hostile. Not con- 
tent with voting, there were several among them, as 
Bond and Hiley Addington, who spoke with the utmost 
bitterness against Lord Melville. 

It was natural and indeed unavoidable that a corre- 
sponding bitterness should arise against themselves. 
Pitt's friends, both inside the House and out of it, were 
very angry. Of this we may observe a token in a 
caricature of Gillray's. It bears the date of July, 1805. 
It represents Lord Melville as ' the Wounded Lion ' 
lying helpless on his side, while some jackasses are 
preparing to assail him. One of them is made to say 
to the other, ' Very highly indebted to the lion, brother 
Hiley ; ' and the answer is, ' Then kick him again, 
brother Bragge ! ' 

As the close of the Session drew near, Pitt felt it 
necessary to seek an explanation with Lord Sidmouth 
on this subject. ' Observe,' he said, ' the hostility and 
defiance against Government which the speeches of 
Bond and Hiley seem to show. Their conduct must be 
marked. It is impossible for me to give them places 
now. If I did, my own sincerity would be suspected.' 

To these frank and explicit words Lord Sidmouth 
answered by renewing on his own and on Lord Buck- 
inghamshire's part a tender of resignation. Pitt asked 

1 Courts and Cnhinrtx of (li-nrijc the Third, vol. iii. p. 418. 


him not to decide in haste, and they agreed to meet 
again. They were to have met on the 2nd of July, 
But here we find a token — only too frequent at this 
juncture — of Pitt's enfeebled health. * I am confined 
to the house to-day,' so he writes to Lord Sidmouth, 
* by a violent cold and rheumatism, which will also 
oblige me to keep myself under Sir Walter's orders 

The two statesmen saw each other again on the 4th. 
8 I told Mr. Pitt,' writes Lord Sidmouth, ' that my 
friends had no wish by which I was embarrassed. The 
question was between him and me. I had urged 
nothing, but he had deliberately and repeatedly told me 
that nothing could be done ; that the whole should be 
suspended till the next Session, and that we should try in 
the mean time how we could go on together.' Pitt was 
firm in his own view, but so was Lord Sidmouth in his. 
So the latter, with the Lord of Bucks, finally resigned. 

On the 7th, after the resignation was completed, and 
at Mr. Pitt's house on Putney Heath, they had another 
and the parting interview. Lord Sidmouth in his later 
years was fond of relating to his friends the details of 
what had passed. He had asked whether there had 
been anything in his conduct at any time inconsistent 
with what was due from him to Mr. Pitt, to which 
Mr. Pitt holding out his hand replied, with tears in his 
eyes, ' Never. I have nothing to acknowledge from 
you but the most generous and honourable conduct, and 
I grieve that we are to part.' l 

From the perfect probity of Lord Sidmouth in every 
circumstance of life, we may be sure that this conversa- 
tion passed exactly as he told it. On the other hand we 
may reasonably question the sufficiency of his motive 
for resigning. His principal friends had assured him 
that after their late votes they did not for the present 
desire — -they would not even willingly accept — office. 
Lord Sidmouth was quite prepared in legal phrase to 

1 Life, by Dean Pellew, vol. ii. p. 373. 
z 2 


let judgment go against them by default. As his 
biographer explains it: * Had Mr. Pitt only silently 
deferred the fulfilment of his engagement for a time, 
allowance would have been due for the state of his 
feelings ; but by raising the point himself when there 
was no idea of pressing it upon him, he created a 
grievance which, but for his own act, would not have 
existed.' ' 

A grievance, but how very slight a one ! A varia- 
tion, but surely of an infinitesimal kind ! And surely 
also of the two courses which Mr. Pitt might have here 
adopted, the one which he did adopt seems the more 
frank, the more manly, and the more becoming. 

To fill up the two vacant offices, Pitt transferred Lord 
Camden from the War Department to the Presidency 
of the Council, and gave the War Department to Lord 
Castlereagh, the latter still retaining the Board of 
Control. Lord Harrowby having rallied from his illness 
re-entered the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy 
of Lancaster. Several of Pitt's arrangements, besides 
Lord Barham's, were well understood at this juncture to 
be only of a temporary kind. Several high offices 
would be at his disposal with the perfect good-will and 
cheerful consent of the actual holders in the event of a 
wider combination being made. So Pitt himself stated 
it to Rose at Cuffnells in the September following. 

The Session was closed on the 12th of July, but not 
by the King in person. His Majesty was now suffering 
under a grievous calamity, the most grievous in this 
world perhaps, or second only to the mental aberrations 
which he had also undergone. He was beginning to 
lose his sight. One eye was almost entirely darkened, 
and the other grew less and less clear. There was a 
hope, but as it proved not well founded, that the ad- 
vance of the cataract would leave scope hereafter for a 
successful operation. Meanwhile the King bore his 
distress with the greatest fortitude and resignation. 

1 L\fe, by Dean Pellcw, vol. ii. p. 377. 

1805 341 



Napoleon crowned King of Italy — Annexation of Genoa to France — ■ 
Grant of Lucca to the Princess Elisa— Third Coalition — Ville- 
neuve pursued by Nelson — Action between Villeneuve and 
Calder — Villeneuve proceeds to Cadiz — Resentment of Napoleon 
— War waged by him against the Austrians — Nelson at Merton — 
Appointed to command the Fleet destined for Cadiz — Takes 
leave of Pitt— Arrival of Sir Arthur Wellesley from India — 
Pitt's fruitless representations to the King — His last interview 
with Lord Sidmouth — Projected expedition to the north of 
Germany — Surrender of Mack at Ulm — Its effect upon Pitt — 
Battle of Trafalgar, and death of Nelson — Pitt's last speech in 
public — The Duke of Wellington's description of him at this 
period — Notes of Lords Fitzharris and Eldon. 

We must now revert to the proceedings of our indefa- 
tigable and Imperial adversary. He had gone to be 
crowned as King in the Cathedral of Milan ; and the 
ceremony took place in solemn state on the 26th of 
May. ' Cisalpine ' and ' Cispadane ' were names no 
longer used ; the title which he assumed was that of 
' King of Italy.' The very title gave great offence and 
alarm to Austria, since it seemed to involve a claim to 
her recently acquired Venetian provinces. But greater 
still was the offence, greater still the alarm, which two 
other acts of Napoleon at nearly the same time pro- 
duced. The one was the annexation of the Republic of 
Genoa to France. The other was the grant of Lucca as 
a fief, or dependent principality, to one of his sisters, the 
Princess Elisa Baciocchi. Both these acts were thought 
to prove the aspiring character of his ambition, and the 
continued progress of the aggrandizements which he 
desired for his empire. 

So great indeed was the significance ascribed to 
these acts that they appear to have decided the result 
of the negotiations. The Emperor Alexander sent 
orders to M. Novosiltzoff, already at Berlin, not to 


proceed to Paris, but on the contrary to return to Pe- 
tersburg. The Emperor Francis signified his accession 
to the treaty of the 1 1 th of April. This he did on the 
9th of August, through Count Stadion, his Minister at 
Petersburg, claiming, however, at the same time a sub- 
sidy of 3,000,0007. from England. In the same month 
of August Sweden acceded also, and concluded another 
Convention of Subsidy with the English Government. 
And thus was formed, under the guidance of Mr. Pitt, 
the third Coalition against France in its Revolutionary 

It would not be difficult, from the despatches which 
remain to relate step by step, and through all their 
phases, the negotiations with the several Courts which 
Mr. Pitt superintended, but it may suffice to give their 
general scope in the opinion of Lord Malmesbury — 
<uialified beyond all Englishmen at that period to form 
an opinion on such a subject. That opinion, be it ob- 
served, was not expressed with any view of pleasing or 
paying court to Mr. Pitt, since it was merely put down 
in the private note-book of the veteran diplomatist : 
i During the whole of the year Pitt was negotiating his 

great alliance with Russia and Austria Never 

was any measure, so far as human foresight can go, better 

combined or better negotiated Pitt, whom I 

saw in Downing Street on the 26th of September, gave 
me a most minute and clear account of this whole mea- 
sure, and was very justly sanguine as to its result.' l 

Critics, however, are not wanting. Some partisans 
of Addington's Ministry consider its system of isolation 
as preferable, under all the circumstances, to the sys- 
tem of alliances in Pitt's. It is argued that Austria 
was exhausted by her recent conflicts, and would 
have waged war with much more vigour if recruited 
by a longer rest. But in this argument it seems to be 
forgotten that this period of rest would have profited to 
France in at least the same proportion. If a confederacy 

1 Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 339. 


against the immense power of France was wise at all — 
and there are but few who dispute it — there seems no 
reason to believe that its chances of success would have 
been increased by postponing it from 1805 to 1808 or 

But in truth the case is stronger still. The policy 
of Napoleon at that time was one of rapid aggression. 
Thus in one year he had annexed Piedmont, and in 
another Genoa. Thus on one side he over-rode Switzer- 
land, and on another side he dictated to Spain. If then 
this policy were to continue unchecked, it would follow 
that the chances would become less and less in favour of 
the Allies the longer the conflict was delayed. 

These arguments, it will be observed, stand on wide 
and European, and by no means merely English grounds. 
They are wholly independent of the wish which we 
might be disposed to feel to turn aside from us as soon 
as possible the threatened torrent of invasion. 

His objects beyond the Alps having been accom- 
plished, Napoleon, with his customary spirit, darted back 
from Italy. Leaving Turin on the evening of the 8th, 
he reached Fontainebleau on the morning of the 11th 
of July. On the 3rd of August he was once more in his 
camp at Boulogne, intent as ever on invading the oppo- 
site shores. The very day after his arrival he wrote to 
Decres, his Minister of the Marine, in nearly the same 
phrase as he had used the year before : ' The English do 
not know what is hanging over their ears. If we can but 
be masters of the passage for twelve hours, V Angleterre 
a vecu — England will have ceased to be.' l 

To obtain the command of the Channel for a few 
days or hours, Napoleon had in some degree modified 
his plan of the preceding year. He still desired that 
Villeneuve at Toulon, and Missiessy at Kochefort, should 
put to sea at the first favourable opportunity. But his 
present idea was that they should sail straight to the 

1 Letter of the 16 Thrrmidor, "an .viii. (August 4, 1805), pre- 
served in the French archives, and cited by M. Thiers. 


West Indies. There he hoped that they might attract 
a large proportion of the English fleet, and from thence 
they might suddenly return, forming one armada, and 
riding superior in the sea opposite Boulogne. Spain 
being still under the absolute sway of France, and now 
at open war with England, the co-operation of her 
squadrons at Cadiz and Ferrol might henceforth be 
obtained. But the supreme command was vested in 
Villeneuve, an officer of courage, fidelity, and skill, but 
a little shrinking from such vast responsibilities, and of 
that ill-omened mood of mind which does not merely 
forebode calamities, but produces them. 

In pursuance of his instructions, Villeneuve seized 
his opportunity and sailed from Toulon on the 30th of 
March, with eleven ships of the line. Off Cadiz he 
drew to himself the Spanish Admiral Gravina, with part 
of the Spanish squadron, and he cast anchor at Marti- 
nique on the 14th of May. Missiessy, by favour of a 
storm in leaving Rochefort, had already arrived in the 
West Indies, but Ganteaume had been unable to break 
the blockade of Brest. Still, however, Villeneuve had 
n »w united, and under his orders, twenty line-of-battle 
ships ; a number which seemed adequate to the object 
which he had in view. 

Nelson was at this time commanding in the Medi- 
terranean. He had been a warm friend to the Adding- 
ton administration, but was no enemy to that which 
succeeded. 4 1 am free and independent,' so he writes 
in one of his most familiar letters ; ' ' I like both Pitt 
and Lord Melville, and why should I oppose them ? ' 

Under all changes of Ministers Nelson continued to 
serve his country with the same ardent spirit and uncon- 
querable zeal. Finding that the fleet of Villeneuve had 
passed the Straits of Gibraltar, he followed at once with 
his own ten ships. The magic of his name sufficed to 
protect our West India Islands. Villeneuve, who was 
planning an attack upon Barbadoes, relinquished it as 

1 To Lady Hamilton, August 22, 1801. 


soon as he learnt that Nelson was at hand. With such 
a chief as the hero of the Nile, even twelve ships (for 
Nelson had heen joined by Admiral Cochrane and two 
ships more) might become a match for twenty. Ville- 
neuve fell in with and took a homeward bound convoy 
of considerable value, but he indulged no further dreams 
of West India conquest, and on the 9th of June he was 
already in full sail back again to Europe. 

It is, however, only just to state in reference to the 
superior numbers of the French and Spanish ships that 
the latter partook of the general decadence of their coun- 
try at this time. Under the miserable government of 
the Prince of the Peace the fleets were left to rot in the 
harbours, and on a sudden call they had been hastily, 
and by no means efficiently equipped. 

Nelson on his part, with his twelve ships, was most 
eager to get at Villeneuve. He hoped, as he said, to see 
the glories of Eodney renewed in the same seas. But 
he was misled by false intelligence, which caused him to 
seek the enemy at Tobago instead of Martinique. Find- 
ing that they had departed, and were, as he believed, 
steering back to Europe, he set sail for Europe also on 
the 13th of June, with his own ten and only one of 
Cochrane's ships. On the 19th of July he anchored at 
Gibraltar ; and next day, says he, i I went on shore for 
the first time since June 1 6, 1803.' 

Nelson, however, did not pause at Gibraltar. Con- 
sulting with his old friend Admiral Collingwood, they 
thought it probable that the invasion of Ireland might 
be the ultimate object of the French and Spanish arma- 
ment. Nelson therefore set off again at full sail to 
protect the Irish coasts. Finding that the ships of 
Villeneuve had not been seen or heard of in that quarter, 
he, without an hour's loss of time, steered back into the 
Channel, where he hoped to find them ; and on the 15th 
of August he joined the fleet of Admiral Cornwallis at 
Ushant. In this pursuit of Villeneuve to and from the 
West Indies, Nelson showed skill and exertions such as 


have seldom been equalled, and never been surpassed. 
So says Mr. Southey, and his praise would have seemed 
excessive to the French writers of his age ; but more 
recently their honourable candour has expressed the 
same opinion in terms of even higher commendation to 
their gallant enemy. 

The true object of Villeneuve was in the first place to 
liberate the squadron at Ferrol. Some way off Cape 
Finisterre he met the fleet of Sir Kobert Calder ; and 
on the 22nd of July there ensued a partial action be- 
tween them. Calder had but fifteen line-of- battle ships 
to oppose the twenty of Villeneuve ; nevertheless, ere 
night came on, two of the Spanish vessels had struck 
their flag to that of England. Next morning, and for 
some time longer, the two fleets remained at gaze; at 
last they bore away in different directions, as though by 
common consent. For this both Admirals were severely 
blamed. The P"rench officers complained that Ville- 
neuve did not renew the conflict where his superior 
force gave well-grounded hope of victory. The English 
officers complained that Calder did not further pursue 
the advantage which he had already won. Subsequently 
Sir Robert was tried by a Court-Martial, and was found 
Guilty, but only of an error in judgment. 

After the engagement with Sir Robert, Villeneuve 
touched first at Vigo. Thence, after some days, which 
he spent in refitting, he proceeded to Corunaand Ferrol. 
The Spanish line-of-battle ships ready to join him at the 
latter, brought up his entire number to twenty-nine. 
He found on shore renewed orders from Napoleon to sail 
straight to Brest, to break its blockade by a battle with 
Cornwallis, and then proceed into the Channel con- 
jointly with Ganteaume. The personal bravery of 
Villeneuve urged him to this enterprise, but his fore- 
boding temper deterred him. He expected to find 
Nelson already in combination either with Cornwallis 
or with Calder, and he knew that such a combination 
might suffice to overwhelm him. In this, as it chanced, 


he judged too little favourably of his own fortune. The 
dates which I have given will show that there was still 
an interval of which he might have profited before 
Nelson had returned. 

Villeneuve passed some days in great uncertainty 
and anguish of mind. When he had formed his reso- 
lution he did no more than hint it in his private letters 
to the Minister Decres. He concealed it even from 
General Lauriston, who commanded the troops on 
board. It was not till he put again to sea that he 
announced the course which he meant to take. He 
had come to the conclusion that his force was wholly 
inadequate to the enterprise upon Brest. He deemed 
it his duty to steer in the very opposite direction, and 
proceed to Cadiz, where he might expect the further 
junction of several ships of the line. 

During this time Napoleon at Boulogne was in a state 
of great suspense and most eager expectation. P"or 
hours and hours together he was seen to stand on the 
sea-shore straining his eyes along the vast expanse, and 
watching for a sail to rise on the blue horizon. Some 
of his officers stationed, telescope in hand, at divers 
points upon the cliffs, had orders to bring him the most 
early intimation of all they could discern. His troops 
at the several small ports, besides Boulogne, were all 
prepared and ready to embark at a moment's notice. 
No time was to be lost when once the fleets of Ville- 
neuve and Ganteaume should appear. The anxiety of 
the Emperor at this period was the greater since the 
designs of Austria and of Kussia were no longer any 
secret to him. Austria indeed had all but openly de- 
clared herself, and her army was already in movement 
to cross her frontier stream, the Inn. Still Napoleon 
trusted that there would be time for him to strike a 
quick and deadly blow on England before he was called 
upon to wage a Continental war in Germany ; but under 
such circumstances, every clay, every hour, became of 
paramount and pressing importance. 


Under such circumstances, then, did the tidings reach 
Napoleon that his fleet had left Ferrol, but was steering 
to Cadiz instead of Brest. The fiery burst of his not 
unmerited resentment may be more readily imagined 
than described. He found not only his orders disobeyed, 
but his policy baffled. He found himself compelled to 
relinquish the scheme of a descent on England which 
he had so long cherished and so ably prepared. M. 
Daru, the historian of Venice, who was then Chief Clerk 
in the War Department, saw Napoleon on the very 
morning that the news arrived ; and he vividly depicts 
the scene which followed, in a fragment, as yet unpub- 
lished, of his Memoirs. He found, as he states, the 
Emperor in great agitation, uttering words to himself, 
and seeming scarce to see the persons that came in. 
All this while Daru stood by in silence, and awaiting 
instructions. Of a sudden Napoleon walked up to him 
and began abruptly : * Do you know,' he cried, * do 
you know where Villeneuve is now ? He is at Cadiz — 
at Cadiz ! ' Then he descanted, at some length and 
with much ardour, on the weakness and the incapacity 
which had led to this result, and which must ruin 
his project of invasion — the best conceived project, 
he said, and the surest, that he ever in his life had 
framed. 1 

But the mighty genius of Napoleon soon rose superior 
to such gusts of unavailing resentment or regret. He 
calmed himself at once by a resolute exertion of his will. 
On that very morning M. Daru wrote down, under his 
dictation and during several hours, a series of detailed 
instructions to carry out an entirely new plan which 
Napoleon formed. Though the sea was closed against 
him, the Continent was open. Though he could no 
longer deal his threatened blow on England, he might 
strike at the Austrian armies before the Eussians were 

1 This unpublished fragment was communicated by M. Daru's 
son to M. Thiers, and has been cited by the latter (Hist, du Cons, et 
de V Empire, vol. v. p. 464). 


prepared to take the field. With this view all the orders 
were given. The several divisions of French troops 
were drawn as silently as possible from the Channel 
coast, and moved by rapid marches to divers points 
upon the Rhine. Artillery and stores were sent forward 
to Strasburg and Mayence. 

The Austrians, with General Mack as their chief com- 
mander, had fully expected to surprise their formidable 
adversary while still entangled with his English expe- 
dition. On the 8th of September they passed the Inn 
and advanced into Bavaria. But the lion had already 
burst from his trammels. On the 2nd of the month the 
Emperor had set out from Boulogne. He remained 
some time at Paris, partly to provide for the government 
in his absence, and partly to allow time for the march 
of his army ; but on the 24th he left the Tuileries, and 
on the 26th he was at Strasburg. He found the columns 
of his troops arrived upon the Rhine, and eager to pass 
it under his command. Turning their thoughts, as he 
had his, from England, they looked forward to new con- 
quests with his eagles borne aloft in Germany — or, as 
the Germans in that its last year still preferred to call 
it, the ' Holy Roman Empire.' Such, then, was the 
origin and such the outset of the wonderful campaign 
of 1805. 

Lord Nelson did not long remain with Admiral Corn- 
wallis. The crews of his own flag-ship the 'Victory ' and 
of the ' Superb ' were exhausted in strength, though not 
in spirit, by their long-continued buffeting at sea ; and, 
according to the orders of the Admiralty, Nelson brought 
both vessels to Spithead. He then went on shore, and 
proceeded to his house at Merton in Surrey. Even 
there, and while relieved for a time from his public 
duty, he was most earnestly intent on the public service, 
This the following letter, written as it was at daybreak, 
will evince : — 


Lord Nelson to Mr. Pitt. 

Gordon's Hotel, 6 A.M., Aug 29, 1805. 
Sir, — I cannot rest until the importance of Sardinia, in 
every point of view, is taken into consideration. If my 
letters to the different Secretaries of State cannot be found, 
I can bring them with me. My belief is, that if France 
possesses Sardinia, which she may do any moment she 
pleases, our commerce must suffer most severely, if possible 
to be carried on. Many and most important reasons could 
be given why the French must not be suffered to possess 
Sardinia ; but your time is too precious to read more words 
than is necessary ; therefore I have only stated two strong 
points to call your attention to the subject. I am sure our 
fleet would find a difficulty, if not impossibility, in keeping 
any station off Toulon, for want of that island to supply 
cattle, water, and refreshments, in the present state of the 
Mediterranean ; and that we can have no certainty of com- 
merce at any time, but what France chooses to allow us, to 
either Italy or the Levant. 

I am, &c, Nelson and Bronte. 

Nelson at Merton was for one or two weeks at rest, 
or rather he only seemed to be so ; for his soul was 
burning within him ; he longed to be at that French 
fleet which he had either watched or chased without 
cessation during the last two years. He felt that those 
ships were or ought to be his own, as the reward of his 
past toils — that no man but himself should strike the 
decisive blow against them. Unable any longer to resist 
the noble impulse, he wrote to Lord Barham, as the 
head of the Admiralty, offering to undertake the com- 
mand of the great fleet designed to be sent out to meet, 
and, if possible, engage the enemy off Cadiz. 

The offer so honourably made was most gladly ac- 
cepted. At the interview which ensued Lord Barham 
desired him to choose his own officers. How many an 
Admiral might here have thought of his cousins or 
his hangers-on ! But the answer of Lord Nelson was 
fraught in a higher strain. ' Choose yourself, my 


Lord,' lie said. * The same spirit actuates the whole 
profession. You cannot choose wrong ! ' 

Before he finally left London, Nelson went to take 
leave of Mr. Pitt, and then returned, for the last time, 
to his family and friends at Merton. Among his guests 
at that period, in September, 1805, was one of his 
nephews, who was still surviving, in an honoured old 
age, to vindicate his memory from some harsh asper- 
sions, in November, 1861. ' 

It appears from this gentleman's statement, that Lord 
Nelson on his return to Merton, being asked in what 
manner he had been received by Mr. Pitt, replied that 
he had every reason to be gratified. At Mr. Pitt's 
desire he had explained his whole views upon the naval 
war. As regarded the French fleet at Cadiz, Mr. Pitt 
had asked what force would be sufficient to ensure a 
victory over it. Lord Nelson mentioned his opinion on 
that point, but added, that his object was not merely to 
conquer, but to annihilate ; on which Mr. Pitt assured 
him that whatever force Lord Nelson held necessary for 
that object should, so far as possible, be sent out to him. 
And then Lord Nelson, telling the tale to his family, 
added these words: 'Mr. Pitt paid me a compliment 
which, I believe, he would not have paid to a Prince of 
the Blood. When I rose to go, he left the room with 
me and attended me to the carriage.' 

How great a parting scene — Nelson sent forth by Pitt 
to Trafalgar! Surely it might deserve not only a 
biographer's commemoration, but also an artist's skill. 

Nelson's preparations for his high command were soon 
completed. On the night of September the 13th he set 
out from his house at Merton — ' dear, dear Merton,' as 
he writes in his note-book, ' where I left all which I 
hold dear in this world.' Next day he embarked at 

1 See the excellent and feeling letter in reply to Mrs. St. George's 
journal, which was published in the Times of Nov. 6, 18G1, from 
' A Nephew of Admiral Lord Nelson.' I have since, through the 
courtesy of the writer, been made acquainted with his name, and 
learnt from him some further particulars of the parting interview. 


Portsmouth in his old flag-ship, so renowned through 
him, the Victory. He sailed at the head of the great 
fleet combined for this great service, and on the 29th of 
the month — his birthday — he arrived off the coast of 

Thus, then, on nearly the same day, at the close of 
September, two men of genius and energy, such as no 
age has seen surpassed for warfare by land or by sea — 
Napoleon and Nelson — had reached the points for action 
which they desired and designed, and were ready to 
strike a blow, each on his own element, each with a 
force and against antagonists worthy of his fame. Never 
were higher expectations raised — never did expectations, 
however high, more signally fall short of the great 

In the course of that same September there landed 
from India a man destined to play a part not less 
memorable than Lord Nelson's in the warlike annals of 
his country. This was Sir Arthur Wellesley. And at 
nearly the same time came a letter as follows : — 

Marquis Wellesley to Mr. Pitt. 

Fort William, March 28, 1805. 
My dear Pitt, — ........ 

My health and many other considerations make me extremely 
anxious to return to England. Undoubtedly it is my duty 
to determine my conduct in the government of this great 
empire by considerations of higher importance than the 
temper of the India House ; but the operation of that body 
upon all the springs of this government is so powerful, that 
it is impossible to govern India with satisfaction while the 
Court of Directors shall entertain an unfavourable opinion 
of my services, and shall be permitted by the Board of Con- 
trol to manifest that opinion in the most indecorous lan- 
guage. I propose by another packet to write to you more 
fully on this subject, with a view to justify my determination 
of leaving India at the earliest practicable moment, notwith- 
standing your most kind letter of the 31st August, 1804. 
I received that letter with the most cordial sense of gratitude 
and satisfaction. Your approbation, esteem, and friendship 


are the primary objects of all my hopes and cares ; but in 
order to enable me to remain at this arduous post, I must 
receive the direct, unambiguous, effective support of the 
Board of Control, and the Court of Directors must not be 
suffered to harass all my operations by peevish and vexatious 
counter-action. Being well apprised of all your difficulties, 
I will not increase them, and therefore I will not urge you 
to grant these advantages at the hazard of your own em- 
barrassment in the conduct of affairs at home ; but you are 
now fully apprised of the state of my situation in India, and 
if you should wish me to continue, you will take the neces- 
sary steps for that purpose, or your candour and justice 
will pardon my retreat in December or January next, at 
the latest, whatever may be the state of affairs here. 

I was highly gratified by the honours conferred on Lord 
Lake and Sir Arthur Wellesley. The public effect of that 
most judicious measure was extremely salutary in India. It 
has raised the spirits of the whole army ; and I return you 
my most sincere thanks for your attention to my recommen- 
dation of their glorious services. 

I congratulate you upon your success in providing against 
the menaced invasion with such alacrity and vigour. We 
are in anxious expectation of learning the details of the 
Emperor's disasters in that rash attempt. Let me recom- 
mend Sir Arthur "Wellesley to you : I think you will be 
pleased with his knowledge and talents. If you should 
want a good General, I can assure you he will prove useful 
to you. Ever, my dear Pitt, &c, Wellesley. 

Sir Arthur on his arrival in London was most warmly 
welcomed by Mr. Pitt, both as the brother of a constant 
friend, and as himself the victor of Assye and Argaum. 
They had many conversations on military matters, and 
each made a most favourable impression on the other. 
What Mr. Pitt said of Sir Arthur, only a few days before 
his own death, will be recorded by me in its proper 
place. The Duke of Wellington, to the close of his life, 
continued to speak of Mr. Pitt in terms of high regard 
and veneration. He used, during several years, to attend 
the anniversaries of the Pitt Dinner, with the object of 
doing honour to his memory ; and he has more than 



once told me that, in his opinion, Mr. Pitt was the 
greatest Minister that has ever ruled in England. 

The Session of 1805 had been a severe strain on Mr. 
Pitt, by the great exertions which it rendered necessary. 
With only one other Cabinet Minister in the House of 
Commons, and amidst the constant attacks which the 
nearer view of office prompted from the opposite benches, 
he had to contend not only against all his former 
enemies, but also against some of his former colleagues, 
and this in an enfeebled state of health, and in a balanced 
state of public feeling. Pitt was not without some hope 
that the experience of the past year might make the 
King less adverse to his counsels for an extended basis 
of administration. 

In this hope, Pitt determined to seek an audience of 
his Sovereign. He was bound to remain in London, or 
near it, so long as any prospect of French invasion re- 
mained. But when the French army was in full march 
from the Channel coast, and when Napoleon himself had 
left Boulogne, Pitt set out for Weymouth, where the 
King was passing some weeks. On the first day of his 
arrival he was alone with His Majesty for three hours, 
and urged anew, but quite in vain, all the arguments he 
could, stopping short only at the point where he feared 
lest he might disturb the health or the mind of his 
Royal Master. ' 

Some details of this visit are supplied by Mr. Rose, 
whose Diary, after many months' cessation, at this point, 
though but for some days, recommences : 

'Sept. 17.— Mr. Pitt left me at Cuffnells to go to 
the King at Weymouth. On the preceding evening I 
had a conversation of between two and three hours with 
him in my own room on the state of foreign and 
domestic politics. On the former he was extremely 
sanguine, from the treaties entered into with Russia 

1 See a note derived from authentic information, and ascribed 
to Sir George C. Lewis, in the Edinburgh Review of January, 1858, 
p. 107. 


and Austria, and the measures taken in consequence of 

' Sept. 21. — I arrived at Weymouth late in the 
evening, and supped with Mr. Pitt, who stated to me all 
that had passed with His Majesty, which was extremely 
discouraging. He told me he was to have his definitive 
answer the next day. 

4 Sunday, Sept. 22. — I went on the Esplanade early 
in the morning ; and at a quarter past seven the King 
came there, accompanied by Colonel Taylor, who, on the 
King calling me to him, left us. His Majesty then told 
me that Mr. Pitt had made very strong representations 
to him of the necessity of strengthening his Government 
by the accession of persons from the parties of Lord 
Grenville and Mr. Fox, but that he was persuaded there 

existed no necessity whatever for such a junction 

I told His Majesty that considering our situation in the 
House of Commons, I was perfectly persuaded if Mr. 
Pitt should be confined by the gout or any other com- 
plaint for only two or three weeks there would be an 

end of us I had not the good fortune, however, 

to make any impression whatever on His Majesty; on 
the contrary, I found him infinitely more impracticable 
on the point than last year when at Cuffnells.' 

Lord Grenville through one or two of his old col- 
leagues, and Mr. Fox through Lord Grenville, received 
some early hints of the proposal which Mr. Pitt was 
about to lay before the King. Since His Majesty's con- 
sent could not be obtained, the proposal fell of course to 
the ground. But even had that consent been granted, 
the negotiation, with Fox at least, would not have pro- 
ceeded very far. For, as we learn from Fox's familiar 
correspondence at this time, he intended to insist on 
the condition that Pitt should resign the headship of 
the Treasury, and that some friend of Fox, as Grey, or 
Lord Fitzwilliam, or Lord Moira, should be placed there 
in his stead. It is not clear, however, that every member 
of the Fox or the Grenville parties would have gone along 

A A 2 


with this exorbitant pretension ; and a schism in politics 
might perhaps on that account have ensued. 

In another passage of his private correspondence — 
to Grey, on the 28th of August — Fox mentions a different 
rumour which had reached him. ' Of Pitt I hear that 
to those who casually meet him, his appearance is just 
as it was in the House of Commons — that of extreme 
uneasiness, and almost misery.' But in truth this de- 
scription of Pitt must be taken as applying only to his 
bodily health. His spirits were at this time buoyant 
from the prospects of our new alliance with Russia and 
Austria ; as we learn from several testimonies, and, above 
all, Mr. Rose's, during his visit at Weymouth. 

Another visit of Mr. Pitt at this period was prompted 
by personal regard. Henry, eldest son of Lord Sid- 
mouth, and Clerk of the Pells, was a youth of great 
promise. While his father was still Speaker, he had 
been a great favourite with Mr. Pitt, and was frequently 
indulged in the privilege of playing chess with him. 
So says Lord Sidmouth's biographer. I may observe in 
passing that I do not recollect any other notice of Mr. 
Pitt's fondness for that game. 

Unhappily, Henry Addington, being sent to Oxford, 
and ambitious of distinction, overstrained his powers of 
mind. In the summer of 1805 he was dangerously ill. 
When the danger passed, it was found that he had sunk 
into a state of stupor, or rather imbecility. Seldom 
stirring, never speaking, and giving no sign of either 
pain or pleasure — such was the mournful state in which 
he continued till his death in 1823. 

Lord Sidmouth himself was at the time suffering 
from severe indisposition, and Mr. Pitt rode to Rich- 
mond Park to inquire respecting father and son. He 
asked to see the first, but was by some mistake denied. 
Lord Sidmouth wrote to explain the accident, and ask 
his visitor to call if he could in another ride. The result 
is told as follows : — 


Lord Sidmouth to Mr. Hiley Adding ton. 

Richmond Park, Sept. 29, 1805. 
Between ourselves, a Dissolution is not intended, and it 
is probable that Parliament will not meet till after Christ- 
mas. All this, you will be surprised to hear, I had from 
Pitt, who sat here near an hour this morning. Our con- 
versation was nearly engrossed by the state of my family ; 
and the only public topics adverted to were the preparations 
on the Continent and the state of His Majesty's health, the 
accounts of which are as good as possible. Pitt looked 
tolerably well, but had been otherwise. 

That was, it may be noticed, the last occasion on 
which these two friends from early childhood ever saw 
each other. 

At the beginning of October we find Mr. Pitt at 
Walmer Castle, intent upon a scheme for destroying the 
French boats which remained at Boulogne. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Castlereagh. 

Walmer Castle, Oct. 6, 1805. 
Dear Castlereagh, — You will have learned from General 
Moore the substance of what passed between him and me, 
which left me convinced that any attempt at landing is 
attended with too much risk to justify the experiment. I 
still entertain considerable hopes of something effectual being 
done by the rockets, and I trust you will not have had 
much further difficulty in overcoming the objections both of 
Lord Keith and the Admiralty. Your answer to Lord 
Barham places the subject exactly in the true light. I re- 
turn the papers on that subject, and also those from Lord 
Lavington. Under the very peculiar circumstances, it seems 
impossible to object to allowing the 20,000£. for which he has 
drawn. I hope to remain here till this day se'nnight, and 
shall be extremely glad if you can execute your intention of 
coming on Thursday. With this wind, I am much dis- 
appointed not to have heard of anything fresh from the 
Continent. Ever sincerely yours, W. Pitt. 

Lord Castlereagh did accordingly join Mr. Pitt at 


Walmer Castle, and the two friends returned together 
to London on the 14th of October. 1 

In the course of the same month Mr. Pitt paid a 
visit of some days to Lord Camden at Wilderness, and 
another to Lord Bathurst at Cirencester. But he was 
never for many days together absent from London. 
Besides the great scheme of European warfare, which 
required his unceasing vigilance, he had at this time to 
consider the state of Irish affairs. When he formed his 
last administration, he was reconciled to his principal 
opponent at Dublin during the Union controversy, Mr. 
Foster, the late Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. 
This able man was appointed to the office, not yet 
abolished, of Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland. 
But in that office, and with a seat in the Imperial 
Parliament, his very ability, his very influence, led to 
constant conflicts with the Lord Lieutenant and the 
Chief Secretary. The framing and the passing of the 
Irish Bills could not be harmoniously adjusted between 
them. On one occasion Mr. Foster wrote to Pitt with 
a direct tender of his resignation, and at other times 
chafed and complained. Lord Hardwicke on his part, 
though in an amicable spirit to the Ministry, desired to 
quit the scene. Finally, Mr. Pitt found it indispensable 
to change the executive Government at Dublin. For 
the new Lord Lieutenant he selected the son and suc- 
cessor of the great Lord Clive, who in the preceding 
year had been promoted to the Earldom of Powis ; and 
as Chief Secretary he sent his tried and trusty friend 
Mr. Long. 

At this time Mr. Pitt was busied, conjointly with 
Lord Castlereagh, in planning an expedition to the north 
of Germany, which they hoped might both recover 
Hanover to the King and afford an important diversion 
to the Austrians. It was to consist at the outset of 

1 See the Castlcrragli Correspondence, vol. vi. p. 12. Lord Castle- 
reagh's own ' Memorandum on Boulogne,' is given in another passage 
of the same compilation, vol. v. p. 91, ed. 1851. 


about eighteen thousand men, and was placed under 
the command, first of General Don, and subsequently 
of Lord Cathcart. ' In this army Sir Arthur Wellesley 
was appointed to command a brigade ; and the first 
regiments sailed towards the beginning of November. 
There was also sent out a much smaller force — between 
three and four thousand men — under Sir James Craig, 
to co-operate with a Russian armament in the Bay of 

Events far mightier were now in progress. General 
Mack had taken post at Ulm, a strong position in which 
he might command the course of the Danube, and con- 
front the French as they came forward from the Rhine. 
But the Emperor Napoleon, by some rapid and masterly 
marches, took him in the rear. Of a sudden the Aus- 
trian General found himself shut out from all commu- 
nication with the Austrian states. Confusion ensued in 
his councils, and separation in his ranks. Two bodies of 
troops broke loose and made their way from Ulm : the 
one in the direction of Tyrol, the other in the direction 
of Bohemia. In a few days Mack himself, surrounded 
and hemmed in on all sides, had no resource but uncon- 
ditional surrender. On the 19th of October his capitu- 
lation was signed. Next day issuing forth from the 
city-gates in the presence of Napoleon, he laid down his 
arms at the head of thirty thousand excellent troops. 
It was one of the heaviest reverses that ever befell the 
Imperial House of Germany. 

The tidings of this capitulation reached London at 
first as a mere unauthenticated rumour. Pitt gave no 
credit to it. On the 2nd of November Lord Malmesbury 
dined with him, and being his next neighbour at table 
spoke to him of the report which was current. ' Don't 
believe a word of it ; it is all a fiction,' answered Pitt, 
almost peevishly, and in so loud a voice as to be heard 

1 See the instructions to Lieut.-Gen. Don in the Cagtlereagh 
Correspondence, vol. vi. p. 13, and the appointment of Lord Cath- 
cart, p. 56. 


by all who were near them. * But,' so continues Lord 
Malraesbury in his journal, ' next day, which was Sunday 
the 3rd, he and Lord Mulgrave came to me in Spring 
Gardens about one o'clock, with a Dutch newspaper in 
which the capitulation of Ulm was inserted at full 
length. As they neither of them understood Dutch, 
and as all the offices were empty, they came to me to 
translate it, which I did as well as I could ; and I 
observed but too clearly the effect it had on Pitt, though 
he did his utmost to conceal it. This was the last time 
I saw him. The visit has left an indelible impression 
on my mind, as his manner and look were not his own, 
and gave me, in spite of myself, a foreboding of the loss 
with which we were threatened.' 

Within four days, however, the general gloom in 
England was changed to as general though not un- 
mingled joy. Tidings of no common triumph came 
from off Cadiz. After some weeks of rest inside that port, 
Admiral de Villeneuve issued forth, with vessels not 
only much augmented in number, but newly equipped 
and appointed. Combined with Grravina he had thirty- 
three ships of the line and seven frigates, while Nelson 
had but twenty-seven of the first and four of the latter. 
At day- break, on the 21st of October, the two fleets 
neared each other ; the chiefs and crews on both sides 
full of ardour and impatient to engage. They were 
within sight of Cape Trafalgar, from which the ensuing 
battle has derived its name. Then it was that Nelson 
sent forth his famous signal to his fleet : ' England 
expects every man to do his duty.' 

To Collingwood, as to the next in command, Nelson 
had imparted his plan of attack several days before. 
It was to sail forward in two lines : Collingwood in 
charge of the second to break through the enemy about 
the twelfth ship from their rear, and Nelson himself to 
lead through the centre. Thus did the fleet advance ; 
Nelson and Collingwood each leading his line. The 
battle began a few minutes before noon. Nelson stood 

1805 DEATH OF NELSON. 361 

on the quarter-deck of the Victory dressed as usual in 
his Admiral's frockcoat, and bearing on his breast the 
stars of his several Orders. These he would not consent 
to lay aside or to conceal. ' In honour I gained them,' 
he said on a like occasion, ( and in honour I will die 
with them.' In this manner he became a conspicuous 
mark to the riflemen upon the mizen-mast of the French 
ship the Redoubtable. He was struck by a shot through 
the shoulder in the very heat of action. He fell upon 
his face, and being borne below expired three hours 
afterwards. The last words which he was heard to 
gasp forth, and these more than once repeated, were : 
' Thank God I have done my duty.' Happily he lived 
long enough to hear the glorious result of his exertions. 
He was assured that the victory was decided and com- 
plete. He was assured that fourteen or fifteen of the 
French and Spanish ships had already struck their flag. 
In truth the final result proved to be greater still. No 
less than twenty struck, though from a storm which 
immediately afterwards arose the greater number of 
these prizes were lost or went on shore. Villeneuve 
himself was among the prisoners, and Gravina was mor- 
tally wounded. 

There is one consideration which may, I think, set 
in its true light the glory of Nelson. Our greatest 
naval exploits in the French Revolutionary War may be 
computed at six : — the First of June, Camperdown, St. 
Vincent, the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar ; and of 
these six, four were achieved with Nelson's aid, and 
three with Nelson in the chief command. 

Considering that Trafalgar and Waterloo, the two 
greatest victories by sea or land which our history can 
record, were fought within ten years of each other, it 
has sometimes occurred to me to inquire whether any 
man could be named who by any chance was present at 
both, and I once asked that question of the Duke of 
Wellington. He told me that he knew of only one — 
General Alava. At Trafalgar, the General was in the 


Spanish naval service, and on board the flag-ship ; at 
Waterloo, as is well known, he stood by the Duke's side. 

The despatches of Collingwood with the tidings of 
Trafalgar reached London on the 7th of November. 
Never yet did any tidings stir up in the public such 
blended and opposite emotions. Joy for the national 
triumph was dashed with grief for the hero's fall. Men 
felt that under such circumstances they could neither 
exult as they ought to have exulted, nor yet mourn as 
they should have mourned. 

These twofold emotions were stronger in no man's 
breast than in that of the Prime Minister. Lord Fitz- 
harris says in his note-book: — ' One day in November, 
1805, I happened to dine with Pitt, and Trafalgar was 
naturally the engrossing subject of our conversation. 
I shall never forget the eloquent manner in which he 
described his conflicting feelings when roused in the 
night to read Collingwood's despatches. He observed 
that he had been called up at various hours in his 
eventful life by the arrival of news of various hues ; 
but whether good or bad, he could always lay his head 
on his pillow and sink into sound sleep again. On this 
occasion, however, the great event announced brought 
with it so much to weep over as well as to rejoice at, 
that he could not calm his thoughts ; but at length got 
up, though it was three in the morning. 1 

Fox likewise joined in the national feeling, although 
it is painful to observe in his mind some small alloy of 
baser ore. Here are his words to Lord Holland on the 
very day the news arrived : * It is a great event, and 
by its solid as well as brilliant advantages far more than 
compensates for the temporary succour which it will 
certainly afford to Pitt in his distress.' 2 

On the 9th of November Pitt wrote as follows to 
Nelson's brother, the heir of his English Barony : — 

1 Note to the Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv. p. 341. 

2 Correspondence, as published by Lord John llussell, vol. iv. 
p. 121. 


Mr. Pitt to Lord Nelson. 

Downing Street, Nov. 9, 1805. 

My Lord, — I feel a melancholy pleasure in announcing 
to your Lordship, by the King's commands, His Majesty's 
intention to confer on the heirs of your illustrious and 
lamented brother those honours which, had his life happily 
been prolonged for the benefit and glory of his country, 
would have marked in his own person the sense His Majesty 
entertains of his transcendent and heroic services. 

His Majesty has accordingly given directions for pre- 
paring a patent creating your Lordship an Earl of the 
United Kingdom, by the title of Earl Nelson of Trafalgar, 
with the same remainders as are now annexed to the Barony 
which has devolved on your Lordship ; and His Majesty 
will recommend to Parliament to settle an adequate income 
to descend to all the future possessors of this dignity. 

I cannot close this letter without expressing a hope that 
these marks of honour from the Sovereign, accompanied as 
they will be by every proof of public gratitude, will con- 
tribute in some degree to soothe the feelings of those who 
have to struggle with the weight of domestic affliction, 
added to the sense of national loss, which pervades the whole 
country. I have the honour to be, <kc, W. Pitt. 

In pursuance of the intention which this letter 
expresses, Lord Nelson was created Earl Nelson and 
Viscount Trafalgar. He further received a grant of 
6,0007. a-year, and a sum of 100,000^. for the purchase 
of an estate. An English Barony was also, with no 
more than strict justice, conferred on Collingwood — a 
man most truly ' gallant and good,' as, after Copen- 
hagen, Nelson called Captain Eiou. 

On the 9th of November, the Lord Mayor's Day, 
there was, as usual, a great dinner at Guildhall. Pitt, 
as Prime Minister, had accepted the invitation, and 
went with some of his colleagues. His popularity, 
which had waned in these latter times, appeared on that 
day to shine forth in all its pristine lustre. On his way 
to the Mansion House he was greeted with loud accla- 
mations. In Cheapside the multitude took off the horses 


from his carriage, and drew him exultingly along. At 
the banquet the Lord Mayor proposed his health as 
' the Saviour of Europe.' Then Pitt rose, and spoke 
nearly as follows : — ' I return you many thanks for the 
honour you have done me ; but Europe is not to be 
saved by any single man. England has saved herself 
by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by 
her example.' With only these two sentences the Minis- 
ter sat down. They were memorable words. They sank 
deep into the minds of his hearers. For, besides their 
own impressive beauty, they were the last words that 
Mr. Pitt ever spoke in public. 

Among the other guests at that banquet was Sir 
Arthur Wellesley. My readers will certainly be well 
pleased to see his description of Pitt's speech and of 
Pitt himself at that time. I shall give it exactly as I 
noted it down on the same day that I heard it : — 

Notes of conversation with the Duke of Wellington 
at Walmer, October 25, 1838. 

The Duke and I spoke of Mr. Pitt, lamenting his early 
death. ' I did not think,' said the Duke, ' that he would 
have died so soon. He died in January, 1806 ; and I met 
him at Lord Camden's, in Kent, and I think that he did not 
seem ill, in the November previous. He was extremely 
lively, and in good spirits. It is true that he was by way 
of being an invalid at that time. A great deal was always 
said about his taking his rides — for he used then to ride 
eighteen or twenty miles every day — and great pains were 
taken to send forward his luncheon, bottled porter, I think, 
and getting him a beef-steak or mutton chop ready at some 
place fixed beforehand. That place was always mentioned to 
the party, so that those kept at home in the morning might 
join the ride there if they pleased. On coming home from 
these rides, they used to put on dry clothes, and to hold a 
Cabinet, for all the party were members of the Cabinet, ex- 
cept me and, I think, the Duke of Montrose. At dinner 
Mr. Pitt drank little wine; but it was at that time the 
fashion to sup, and he then took a great deal of port- wine 
and water. 


i In the same month I also met Mr. Pitt at the Lord 
Mayor's dinner ; he did not seem ill. On that occasion I 
remember he returned thanks in one of the best and neatest 
speeches I ever heard in my life. It was in very few words. 
The Lord Mayor had proposed bis health as one who had 
been the Saviour of England, and would be the Saviour of 
the rest of Europe. Mr. Pitt then got up, disclaimed the 
compliment as applied to himself, and added, " England has 
saved herself by her exertions, and the rest of Europe will 
be saved by her example ! " That was all ; he was scarcely 
up two minutes ; yet nothing could be more perfect. 

' I remember another curious thing at that dinner. 
Ei-skine was there. Now Mr. Pitt had always over Erskine 
a great ascendency — the ascendency of terror. Sometimes, 
in the House of Commons, he could keep Erskine in check 
by merely putting out his hand or making a note. At this 
dinner, Erskine's health having been drank, and Erskine 
rising to return thanks, Pitt held up his finger, and said to 
him across the table, " Erskine ! remember that they are 
drinking your health as a distinguished Colonel of Volun- 
teers." Erskine, who had intended, as we heard, to go off 
upon Rights of Juries, the State Trials, and other political 
points, was quite put out ; he was awed like a school-boy at 
school, and in his speech kept strictly within the limits en- 
joined him.' 

I will here add some other reminiscences, which 
refer to exactly the same period — that is, October and 
November, 1805. 

From the Note-book of Lord Fitzharris. 

I met Pitt at Lord Bathurst's, in Gloucestershire, where 
he passed some days. We went to church at Cirencester. 
In discoursing afterwards on the beauties of our Liturgy, he 
selected the Thanksgiving Prayer as one particularly im- 
pressive and comprehensive. The one ' In Time of War 
and Tumults,' he thought admirably well drawn up, as well 
as that for the Parliament ; but added, with respect to the 
first of the two, that he never in hearing it could divest 
himself of the analogy between ' abate their pride, assuage 
their malice,' and the line in the song of ' God save the 
King,' ' Confound their politics, frustrate their knavish 


tricks.' I observed that Pitt was constantly taking down 
and quoting from Lucan, of which author he appeared to be 
extremely fond. Nothing could be more playful, and, at the 
same time, more instructive, than Pitt's conversation on a 
variety of subjects while sitting in the library at Cirencester. 
You never woidd have guessed that the man before you was 
Prime Minister of the country, and one of the greatest that 
ever filled that situation. His style and manner were quite 
those of an accomplished idler. 2 

From the Anecdote-booh of Lord Eldon. 

I went with Mr. Pitt, not long before his death, from 
Roehampton to Windsor. Among much conversation upon 
various subjects, I observed to him that his station in life 
must have given him better opportunities of knowing men 
than almost any other person could possess ; and I asked 
whether his intercourse with them, upon the whole, led him 
to think that the greater part of them were governed by 
reasonably honourable principles or by corrupt motives. His 
answer was, that he had a favourable opinion of mankind 
upon the whole, and that he believed that the majority was 
really actuated by fair meaning and intention. 2 

1 Already published in a note to the Malmesbury Diaries, vol. iv. 
p. 347. 

2 T?viss\<i Life of Lord Eldon, vol. i. p. 498. 

1805 367 



Mission of Lord Harrowby to Berlin — Pitt at Bath — His criticism 
upon Lord Mulgrave's and Mr. Canning's Poems on the Victory 
of Trafalgar — Napoleon in Vienna — Battle of Austerlitz — Treaty 
of Presburg — Effect of the intelligence on Pitt — Anxiety of his 
friends — His illness at Putney — His last letter — His interview 
with Lord Wellesley, and his opinion of Sir Arthur — Notes of 
the Hon. James Hamilton Stanhope — Narrative of the Bishop of 
Lincoln — Death of Pitt. 

The victory at Trafalgar seems to have given to the 
British public and to Pitt himself better hopes of the 
war in Germany. Wholly unconnected as were these 
two transactions, it is not surprising that men flushed 
with a great triumph at sea should not so readily de- 
spair of some similar success by land. It was thought 
that the events at Ulm would be soon retrieved. It 
was thought that the remains of the Austrian armies 
combining with the Russian would prove an overmatch 
to the French. It was thought that the King of 
Prussia, weary of his long wavering, would at last take 
part with Austria, and throw his sword into the scale. 

The accession of the Cabinet of Berlin to one or 
other of the contending parties was, indeed, felt by 
both as a point of most vital importance. Napoleon 
had lured it for some months past by the promise of 
Hanover. Pitt had endeavoured to arouse it by urging 
the dangers which impended to the independence of 
Germany and to its own. He also made the most liberal 
offers of subsidy if Prussia should be induced to join 
the cause of the Allies. To give the greater weight to 
his representations and his offers, he determined to 
send out a member of his own Cabinet, who had re- 
cently filled the office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 
This was Lord Harrowby, who was accordingly induced 


to undertake a special mission to Berlin, attended by 
Mr. Hammond, Under Secretary at the Foreign Office. 
Meanwhile Mr. Pitt was much pressed by his physi- 
cians to make a journey to Bath, and he also hoped to 
find time for one or two short visits to his friends. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Carrington. 

Downing Street, Nov. 19, 1805. 

Dear Carrington, — I should be most happy to be able 
now to fix a time for coming to you at Wycombe ; but I 
may probably be kept all this week in daily expectation of 
hearing from Harrowby. As soon as I have done so (if the 
accounts are such as to admit of it), I mean to run down for 
a fortnight to Bath ; and perhaps to repeat my visit there 
before Christmas, after coming back to town for a few days. 
All this, however, must depend a good deal on intermediate 
events. If you pass the Christmas holidays at Wycombe, 
I hope to find two or three days for coming to you there. 

Ever sincerely yours, W. Pitt. 

Pitt, however, appears to have remained in London 
all through the month of November. During this time 
he made his preparations as best he could for the coming 
Parliamentary campaign. He decided to take into his 
Cabinet both Canning and Charles Yorke, thus strength- 
ening his front rank by a large accession of oratorical 
ability. His intention was not as yet made public, but 
Canning told it in confidence to Lord Malmesbury, in 
whose journal it will be found recorded. 

Mr. Charles Yorke was to have the Board of Con- 
trol, which, as we have seen, Lord Castlereagh continued 
to hold as a temporary arrangement in conjunction with 
the War and Colonies ; but there was to be no change 
as to the office already held by Mr. Canning. 1 The 
subject is referred to by himself in the letter which 
follows : 

1 Compare on these points Lord Malmesbury's Diary (vol. iv. 
p. 343) with Mr. Rose's (vol. ii. p. 249). 

1806 PITT AT BATH. 369 

Mr. Canning to Mr. Pitt. 

South Hill, Nov. 27, 1805. 

You will always find me here. I hope you will not 
suffer your Bath journey to be deferred till it is too late to 
do you much good. . . . 

Could not you manage before you leave town to prepare 
the way for the actual accomplishment of the business which 
was settled when last I saw you 1 I ask from no idle wish 
to have the thing hastened, or notorious ; but as, when you 
now go, you will probably go to stay as long as you can, and 
as the time to elapse before the meeting of Parliament, even 
at the most distant supposable date, is not more than 
enough, I shall be anxious to have as much of it as is pos- 
sible, to look with my own eyes at all that has been doing 
— at least from the time of the beginning of Leveson's 
mission — which (especially in Hammond's absence) I cannot 
do comfortably and to my full satisfaction by sufferance, and 
while you are away still less. 

Ever most affectionately yours, G. C. 

Notwithstanding- the strong wish which Canning here 
expresses, the formal ari'angement was postponed by Pitt 
until the Session should be close at hand. 

I may take this opportunity to notice that the letters 
of Canning to Pitt, as preserved among the Pitt manu- 
scripts, always commence in this manner abruptly, 
neither with ' My dear Pitt,' nor yet * My dear Sir.' 
Canning probably thought the first too familiar, and the 
last too formal. 

It was not till the 7th of December that Pitt was 
enabled to proceed to Bath. There he stayed upwards 
of a month. There he received visits from several of 
his friends who went down to see him. Such were 
Lord Hawkesbury, Lord Mulgrave, and Lord Melville. 
The latter visit appears to have given great umbrage to 
Lord Sidmouth. ' I hear,' so writes Fox in his Corre- 
spondence, the Doctor talks of it with uplifted eyes, and 
sajs he cannot believe it.' ' 

1 Letter to Lord Lauderdale, Dec. 17, 1805. 


Even amidst the failure of health and the gravest 
cares of state, we find Pitt still appealed to by his 
friends on merely postical questions. Lord Mulgrave 
had composed an ode on the victory of Trafalgar. He 
brought it down with him to Bath, and insisted on ob- 
taining the corrections of his chief. Here is his letter, 
after some of these revising touches. But I shall insert 
only one stanza of the poem. 

Lord Mulgrave to Mr. Pitt. 

Bath, Dec. 12, 1805. 

Dear Pitt, — Dr. Calcott wants to have my song, and I 
want to get rid of it. You must therefore, as Prceceptor 
Musarum make your election (choice there may be none) 
from the following verses to replace those which, to use the 
Eton phrase, you have marked : — ■ 


Th' ill-fated captures from their anchors torn 
Part sink, part perish, on Iberia's shores ; ^ 

In scattered fragments load the hostile shores ; / 
Whilst on the angry waves triumphant borne 
No British wrecks the victor fleet deplores. 

Your criticism has driven wreck into the plural number. 

It is a str-ong proof of distance from Downing Street 
when I send you so long a despatch for a song ; but after all 
your goodness about it, I had not resolution to send it off 
without your sanction, or at least allowance. 

Ever yours, Mulgrave. 

In a biographical work by one of Lord Mulgrave's 
sons, it is alleged that Mr. Pitt, on seeing this ode, 
found the fault that no mention was made in it of Ad- 
miral Collingwood. He regretted this the more, con- 
sidering the humanity which Collingwood had shown in 
his efforts to save the drowning prisoners ; and, taking 
up his pen, he is said to have added a stanza of his own 
as follows : — 


With Nelson joined, and sacred to renown, 
Time shall record the second of that day, 
Who to the glory of his Sovereign's Crown 
Secured the lustre of its brightest ray. 1 

I must observe, however, that although the author- 
ship of Pitt on this occasion is stated in very positive 
terms, no proof or corroboration of it, as through his 
handwriting, is adduced. 

The battle of Trafalgar inspired also a much higher 
Muse than Lord Mulgrave's — the Muse of Mr. Canning. 
That gifted man wrote a poem of considerable beauty on 
that great event. I shall give the commencement only, 
transcribing it from the final copy in his own handwrit- 
ing, which Mr. Canning afterwards presented to Lady 
Hester Stanhope : — 

Lines on Trafalgar. 

While Austria's yielded armies, vainly brave, 
Moved, in sad pomp, by Danube's blood-stained wave, 
Aloft, where Ulm's proud tow'rs o'erlook the flood, 
Midst captive Chiefs the insulting victor stood ; 
With mock regret war's fatal chance deplored, 
And shamed with taunts the triumphs of his sword. 
Then as the mounting fury fired his brain, 
Blind with rash hope, of fancied conquests vain, 
In rage of hate, and insolence of power, 
(0 ! luckless boast and most ill-chosen hour !) 
O'er England's seas his new dominion plann'd, 
While the red bolt yet fiam'd in Nelson's hand. 

Now on these lines, ere yet finally corrected, Mr. 
Canning addressed a long letter to Mr. Pitt at Bath, 
soliciting his counsel, line by line, and almost word by 
word. Of these inquiries I shall give that part only 
which refers to the few lines I have already cited : — 

Mr. Canning to Mr. Pitt. 

South Hill, Dec. 27, 1805. 
I send you the verses written out on a sheet of paper 
about the bigness of the Bellman's — who, I suppose, has by 
this time added a copy to your collection. 

1 Memoirs of R. P. Ward. Esq., hv the Hon. Edmund Phipps, vol. 
i. p. 171, ed.1850. 

V, V. 2 


If the news from the Continent has not reached you, you 
will perhaps have time to consider the varice lectiones. 

Line 1st 'yielded' armies. I am mightily pleased my- 
self with this word. But there is a very good rule of an old 
tutor of Magdalen : ' When you find anything in your own 
composition that pleases you particularly, the safest way is 
to strike it out.' However, I leave it to he judged of by 
others. Its merit is accuracy. Perhaps it is too accurate. 

Lines 1st and 2nd, ' brave in vain,' ' vainly brave,' &c. 
The choice must be regulated in some degree by the adoption 
or rejection of the lines in the next paragraph, ending with 
' brain ' and ' vain.' If they arc not adopted, I rather think 
the first reading the best. 

Line 7th. Here are three forms to choose. As it stood 
before, ' Then in the rage of hate and pride of power,' ' pride' 
is objectionable. It occurs too often already ; and, as ap- 
plied to Bonaparte, twice at the end of lines in the course 
of the next ten couplets. 

And I doubt whether ' blind to the fates,' &c, simply, 
unless blind by some fault and presumption of his own, is 
saying anything. Who is not so 1 And blamelessly ? 

I am again here, depending upon hearing the news from 

I hope you have not forgotten to write upon the subject 
that we last talked of. I am now impatient, which you will 
do me the justice to recollect I have not been till time became 
a matter of consequence. 

I hope you have, above all things, continued to get well. 
Ever affectionately yours, G. C. 

During this time the Emperor Napoleon in Germany 
was pursuing his victorious career. From Ulm he had 
marched to Munich, and reinstated the Elector of Ba- 
varia, his ally. Still driving the Austrian troops before 
them, and advancing along the southern bank of the 
Danube, his vanguard entered Vienna on the 13th of 
November; while he took up his quarters in the neigh- 
bouring palace of Schonbrunn. The apartments in 
which he sojourned, then and in 1809, are still shown ; 


they are the same in which, at another period, his son 

On their part, the retreating Austrian forces took 
the direction of Olmiitz, and effected a junction with 
their advancing Eussian allies. But Napoleon left 
them little leisure to consolidate their strength. He 
followed them into Moravia, and gave them battle on the 
2nd of December, the anniversary of his Coronation at 
Notre Dame. The action has derived its name from 
the adjacent town of Austerlitz. The Germans have 
also called it die Kaiser-schlacht, or the battle of the 
Emperors, since, besides Napoleon, Francis and Alex- 
ander were present in the field. Among the French, on 
the other hand, the phrase le Soleil <V Austerlitz, as first 
used by Napoleon, grew to be proverbial. See how Be- 
ranger, for example, has applied it to that army so 
often victorious : — 

Et s'elancant du sol des Pyramides 
Pour voir briller le soleil d'Austerlitz. 

For at Austerlitz the sun, till then thickly veiled in mist, 
of a sudden burst forth with more than wintry lustre, 
and cast its unclouded beams on the great scene of 
human strife. Before that sun had set, the Austrians 
and the Eussians were scattered far and wide, leaving 
behind them fifteen thousand killed or wounded, 
twenty thousand prisoners, and one hundred and eighty 
pieces of cannon. This victory may perhaps indeed be 
regarded as the most splendid among the many that 
Napoleon gained. It decided not only the day but the 
campaign, and not only the campaign but the war. 
The Emperor of Austria at once sued for peace, and 
was obliged to make considerable sacrifices before he 
could obtain even a cessation of hostilities. Finally at 
Presburg, on the 25th of December, he concluded a 
treaty according to the hard terms which the victor 
enjoined ; yielding Tyrol to the Electorate of Bavaria, 
and Venice to the Kingdom of Italy. Eussia soon fol- 


lowed in the wake of its ally, and the new Coalition was 
utterly rent asunder. 

The ill success of the war in Germany was of course 
a powerful lever to the English Opposition. Both Lord 
Grenville and Fox had determined to press the Minister 
with the utmost keenness from the first hour that Par- 
ment met. Lord Sidmouth, though professing greater 
moderation in his future course, was not at all more 
favourable to the recent policy of Pitt. ' It will appear, 
I believe,' so he writes even before the news of Auster- 
litz, ' that Government has been both precipitate and 
remiss.' l These two, I may observe in passing, were 
very convenient, because almost contradictory, epithets 
to urge. Any specific accusation that would not fit into 
the first basket would be quite sure to find a place in 
the second. 

On the other hand, as we have seen, Mr. Pitt was 
taking measures to give strength to his Cabinet in the 
House of Commons. A question of some interest may 
thence arise. If against such adversaries, and with such 
support, in January, 1806, Mr. Pitt had been able to 
meet Parliament in moderately good health, would his 
administration have stood ? For my part, I am of 
opinion that it would. There were the reverses of Ulm 
and Austerlitz to urge, but to set against these the 
triumph of Trafalgar. The latter had been achieved by 
our own prowess ; the first, after all, could only be im- 
puted to the fault or to the fortune of our allies. The 
question as to Mr. Pitt was really whether a close con- 
cert between England, Eussia, and Austria, did or did 
not afford a reasonable prospect of prevailing against 
France. If there was that reasonable prospect, Mr. 
Pitt was not open to blame for concluding the alliance ; 
and no vote of censure on that account could be, with 
any show of justice, pressed against him. 

Moreover, setting aside for a moment reasons and 
causes, the English people at large could not fail to 

1 Letter to Mr. Bragge Bathnrst, Dec. 7, 1805. 


observe, as the ultimate result up to that time of Pitt's 
administration, that their insular security was increased. 
The project of a descent upon Kent or Sussex — a pro- 
ject still so rife in July, 1805 — was in the January fol- 
lowing altogether laid aside ; and surely even the bravest 
men might deem this no mean advantage. We might 
be confident of repelling the invaders, and yet much 
prefer to have no invasion at all. 

Looking to the temper of the times it further seems 
to me that the more Mr. Fox or Lord Grrenville or Lord 
Sidmouth had increased in vehemence, the more likely 
were they to lose in numbers. The popularity of Mr. 
Pitt had certainly in some degree declined, but I see 
no reason to doubt that it was still both deep-rooted 
and extensive. 

It may be urged on the other side, that several of 
Pitt's colleagues at this time were deficient in Parlia- 
mentary eloquence and administrative vigour. But on 
this point it is well to weigh the opinion of Fox — an 
opinion expressed with too much bluntness, and indeed 
unfairness as regards certain individuals, but still 
marked by his usual practical sagacity. Thus did Fox 
write to a friend in July, 1 805 : — ' Upon the whole, I 
consider matters in the best possible train, and yet it 
does sometimes come across me — and I wish others 
would not quite forget it — that the Ministry with which 
this very Pitt set out in the year '84 was in all respects 
as weak and contemptible as the present.' 1 

For these, among several other reasons, I believe 
that if the health of Mr. Pitt had been sustained in 
1806, his Ministry would not have been subverted ; but 
the continuance of his health was an indispensable con- 
dition, and that condition, as will presently be seen, 
was not fulfilled. 

The defeat at Austerlitz was indeed a most grievous 
blow to the English Prime Minister. It was the greater 
since, as it chanced, the first accounts from Moravia 

1 Cwrespondenee, vol. iv. p. 89. 




had announced a victory on the part of the Allies. As 
such the tidings had been laid before the King. 1 As 
such they drew congratulations from Mr. Huskisson, even 
in the same letter which states and which deplores the 
financial pressure of the war. 

Mr. Huskisson to Mr. Pitt. 

Treasury Chambers, Dec. 19, 1805. 
My dear Sir, — Sir Francis Baring called here to-day 
to mention that, immediately after leaving you on the 5th 
instant, he wrote to Amsterdam by a safe opportunity to 
hint to Hope what was in contemplation. He has this day 
received an answer to his letter, in which Hope informs him 
that, before the receipt of the communication, they had sent 
an agent, vid Paris, to Madrid, on some arrangements con- 
nected with the licences they now hold, but that they would 
send after him to desire he would do nothing respecting 
them, and that he would prepare the way for the further 
transaction, without, however, committing himself to any- 
thing without further directions. They are, therefore, very 
pressing for a decision. I am sorry to add that, notwith- 
standing all our endeavours, and all the specie sent in order 
to avoid any operations of exchange, it comes over worse and 
worse by every mail from the Continent ; and if we had now 
to give orders to draw to any extent, it could not be done 
without a most heavy loss and perhaps not at all ; such is 
the embarrassment that prevails on the Continent since the 
loss of Vienna. In proportion as the exchange falls, silver 
of course rises. It is now 5s. lOd. per ounce, which is a rise 
of 14 per cent, on the price before the war. Sir Francis 
will call again on Saturday. I hope the news received to- 
day is sufficiently authentic to justify my congratulating you 
on the favourable prospect it opens, both to those who are, and 
to those who, I now trust, soon will be engaged in the war. 
I remain, my dear Sir, &c, W. Huskisson. 

It is no wonder if, after the tidings and the hopes of 
a victory in Moravia, which were conveyed to Mr. Pitt, 

1 Letter, printed in my Appendix, from Col. Taylor to Lord 
I lastlereagh, dated Dec. 20, 1805. See also a passage in M. Thiers's 
History, vol. vii. p. 432. It was said thai Napoleon had lost twent y- 
seven thousand men and his entire artillery. 


the sudden shock of the contrary intelligence proved 
too much for his enfeebled frame. I shall here insert 
the statement on this point which was put in writing 
by my father, and which seems to have been derived 
from the domestics in immediate attendance upon 
Mr. Pitt at Bath. 

Notes on Mr. Pitt. 

The immediate cause of his death was the battle of 
Austerlitz. I dined with him the day before his departure 
for Bath, when I found him in his usual spirits ; and on 
inquiring after his health, I learnt from those about him 
that he had some flying gout, which it was hoped might 
become a regular fit. Such was, indeed, the effect of the 
Bath waters ; but after he received the despatches containing 
the account of that most disastrous battle, he desired a map 
to be brought to him and to be left alone. His reflections 
were so painful that the gout was repelled, and attacked 
some vital organ. 

Exactly to the same effect is the statement by Mr. 
Rose. ' The waters there [at Bath] almost immediately 
threw the gout into his right foot, and soon after into 
the left ; but on receiving the account of the armistice 
after Austerlitz the gout quitted the extremities, and 
he fell into a debility which continually increased.' 

Such was the effect of these causes combined on 
Mr. Pitt, that, as Lord Macaulay states it, though 
perhaps a little too strongly, ' ten days later he was so 
emaciated that his most intimate friends hardly knew 

It was not, let me observe, that the high courage of 
Pitt had even for a moment quailed. Had his bodily 
strength but endured, he would have borne up against 
Austerlitz with the same unconquerable energy of soul 
as he had against many other disasters and reverses in 
the war. Such is also the opinion of an accomplished 
critic whom I have more than once already cited : 
' The period was one of unusual care and anxiety, but 
Mr. Pitt's mind unquestionably possessed sufficient 


energy to bear the weight if his body had not been 
undermined by physical causes.' ' 

Wilberforce often described with great feeling the 
care-worn and unhappy aspect of Pitt during the last 
months of his life, and Wilberforce was wont to call it 
.* the Austerlitz look.' The expression was striking and 
well chosen, but not exactly accurate, since Wilberforce 
never once saw Pitt after the battle of Austerlitz was 

A letter of Mr. Canning just after the evil news will 
show how anxiously the Prime Minister, in his commu- 
nications to his friends, had endeavoured to cling to 
what remnants of hope remained. 

Mr. Canning to Mr. Pitt. 

Somerset House, Dec. 31, 1805. 

I must thank you for your letter, which I have just 
received from fSouth Hill, though I am vexed that you had 
the trouble of writing it. In town I have not collected any 
other circumstances than those which you point out, to 
justify a disbelief of so formal and particular a statement. 

And what I recollect of the last despatch from Leveson, 
which I saw at Bath, tends to make the Empeix>r of Austria's 
part of the transaction appear too credible. But it is pos- 
sible (is it not ?) that the armistice may be true, and yet the 
game not entirely up. Russia is no party. Why should 
the Emperor of Russia withdraw 1 The reason which he is 
made to give, ' that he came to assist the Emperor of Austria,' 
is not sufficient. He has also a treaty with Prussia. I have 
not been very sanguine about Prussia. Yet the utter and 
ridiculous disgrace with which she must be covered if she 
does absolutely nothing, is a ground for hoping that if Russia 
does not give way, there may yet be an effort made to pre- 
vent Bonaparte from returning Emperor of the West. 

But still the extent of provisional cession by Austria is 
almost more than one can conceive any degree of defeat to 
have extorted. And the A_rchduke Charles's army — what 
is become of it 1 And all the Berlin accounts of the 10th 
and 11th, how are they to be accounted for? 

1 Edinburgh Review, January, 1858, p. 170. 


In this painful uncertainty, I shall nevertheless return 
to South Hill to-morrow. I hate to walk the streets in such 
ill news. Ever yours, G. C. 

Here follow two letters from Mr. Pitt himself at this 
trying juncture. The one is preserved at Melville 
Castle, and endorsed as follows, in Lord Melville's hand : 
' Mr. Pitt ; the last note I ever received from him ; ' 
Lord Melville being then with Pitt at Bath. The other 
is addressed to Lord Castlereagh. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Melville. 

Friday, Jan. 3, 1806, 1 p.m. 

I am sorry to tell you that the Mails arrived from Berlin 
confirm the account of the armistice and the retreat of the 
Russian troops. 

It is the more provoking, because subsequent to the 
action the allied army is stated to have been still 85,000 
strong. Nothing is said of the Archduke Charles. 


The last despatch from Berlin is on the 18th. The 
Grand Duke Constantine had arrived with an offer to let all 
the Russian force join the Prussians. 

Harrowby had not been able to see Hardenberg subse- 
quently, and the line of Prussia did not seem decided. How- 
ever, little reliance can be placed on that quarter. 

Ever yours, W. P. 

Mr. Pitt to Lord Castlereagh. 

Bath, Monday, Jan. 6, 1806. 1 
Dear Castlereagh, — I return the box which I received 
this morning. I agree very much with you that, in the 

1 This letter has been published in the Castlereagh Corre- 
ttpondenoe with the date of ' Bath, Monday, December 6, 1805.' No 
doubt the Editor was justified by a slip of the pen in Pitt, who, as 
in the next following letter, wrote ' Dec.' for 'Jan.' But (besides 
the internal evidence of the last paragraph, which of itself is 
decisive of the question) observe that the date as published is self 
contradictory, since the 6th of December in that year fell upon a 
Friday. Secondly, it is quite clear that the letter is in reply to 
one from Lord Castlereagh, dated January 5, 1806, and sent by 


uncertainty of what may be the ultimate line of Prussia, it 
may perhaps not be to be regretted if Lord Cathcart should 
have directed the last division of our troops to return 
without landing. But, as far as I can trace, Lord Cathcart, 
when he wrote, had received only Lord Harrowby's despatch, 
written while the answer of Prussia was evasive. He will 
soon after have received that of the 23rd, announcing the 
positive assurance of security for our troops, on their observ- 
ing the conditions specified, which are not unreasonable. 
Under these circumstances, I incline to think he will not 
have sent back any of the troops ; and, if so, I confess I do 
not see how we can, in our instructions, make any distinc- 
tion between the first and last divisions. 

The reasoning which you state in your letter for our 
consenting to let the former remain for the present, appears 
to me (under the general assurance now given by Berlin) to 
apply with equal force, and almost unanswerably, to the 
latter. I certainly feel a strong desire to see so valuable a 
body of troops at home ; but I do not think the difference, 
at any rate, will be more than between the present time, and 
early enough in the spring for any defensive purpose here. 
By bringing them away now, I fear we should hardly give a 
fair chance to the good disposition of Prussia, if any such 
really exist. Whenever the troops must come away, I think 
the arrangement you propose respecting the Hanoverians is 
most judicious, and I am very glad it is approved. It 
hardly seems to me that we are yet ripe to send any fresh 
instructions to Craig. 

My second attack of gout is now subsiding, and I hope 
to recover from it quicker than the former ; but I am sorry 
to say that I have more ground to gain, before I am fit for 
anything, than I can almost hope to accomplish within a 
fortnight. Bath is no longer thought of use, and I shall 
move as soon as I can. Ever yours, W. P. 

Pray have the goodness to mention what I have stated 
respecting the return of our troops. Whatever you and 
they, on consideration, decide, I shall be satisfied with. 

messenger; which last letter is to he found in the same published 
Correspondence, although the Editor has failed to observe the close 
connexion between the two. See the Castlereagh Letters and 
Despatches, vol. vi. pp. 61) and 103, ed. 1851. 


Two days afterwards Mr. Pitt wrote his last letter, 
as it proved, to my father. It bears date Bath, Dec. 8, 
1806, for in this letter, as in the last preceding, he put 
* Dec' for ' Jan.' by a slip of the pen. He thus begins : 

Dear Mahon, — I am grieved that a load of business, 
much beyond what I am equal to in my invalid state, has 
so long delayed my returning the papers you sent me. 
Richards's opinion is very satisfactory, and if it were not for 
one circumstance, would, I think, be conclusive. 

Mr. Pitt then proceeds to offer a kind and excellent 
practical suggestion on a matter of legal business, which 
was of great anxiety to his correspondent, but which 
would be of no interest to the public. And he thus 
concludes : — 

But yon must be aware that not having before me the 
drafts as they had been proposed, I can judge but imper- 
fectly ; and if, putting all circumstances together, you have 
reason to think the answer means only evasion and delay, 
it would certainly be right to have recourse at once to the 
Bill. I state this, therefore, rather for your consideration 
than as any fixed opinion. 

Ever affectionately yours, W. P. 

During the last ten days of his residence at Bath 
Mr. Pitt was joined by his attached friend and physician 
Sir Walter Farquhar. He had also Mr. Charles Stanhope 
with him at that time. The meeting of Parliament had 
been fixed for the 21st of January, and on the 9th he 
set out with Sir Walter and Charles Stanhope on his 
journey homeward. On the day before, he had a part- 
ing conversation with Lord Melville. Then — so a year 
afterwards Lord Melville wrote it to Lord Eldon — ' he 
emphatically said : " I wish the King may not live to 
repent, and sooner than he thinks, the rejection of the 
advice which I pressed on him at Weymouth." ' 

So much on leaving Bath was the strength of Pitt 
reduced, that it took him three days to reach his villa at 
Putney. On seeing him again, Lady Hester Stanhope was 


greatly shocked at his wasted appearance and hollow 
tone of voice. There is a little incident of him at 
that period which has often heen related, but with some 
variations as to time or place, and therefore perhaps not 
derived from any direct authority. It is said that on 
leaving his carriage, and as he passed along the passage 
to his bedroom, he observed a map of Europe which had 
been drawn down from the wall ; upon which he turned 
to his niece and mournfully said, ' Roll up that map ; 
it will not be wanted these ten years.' 

Some letters of this period will show how great was 
now the anxiety of his friends, and how warmly they 
pressed their hospitable care. 

Lord Ilaivkesbury to Mr. Pitt. 

Whitehall, Jan. 7, 1806. 

Dear Pitt, — I have just heard that, in consequence of 
the gout having settled in your other foot, it has been 
thought most advisable that you should leave Bath. I wish 
I could persuade you to come directly to Coombe : you will 
be there not only in a good air, but you will find a particu- 
larly warm house. You will be sufficiently near London 
for any person to come down to you on business, and at the 
same time free from the interruption and worry to which 
you would be unavoidably exposed in London. I trust, 
therefore, that you will not have the least scruple of agree- 
ing to my proposal, and of going there directly from Bath, if 
that should be most convenient. You will find the house 
ready, and well aired. 

Castlereagh will have informed you of the general pur- 
port of our conversations with respect to the Bi'itish troops 
on the Continent : I trust we shall soon hear of the return 
of those who were last embarked. It is most fortunate that 
the weather is so favourable as to render it scarcely probable 
that any of the transports should be locked up by ice. How 
lucky it would be if we could now hear of a successful attack 
upon Carthagena ! Pray turn the question of Sicily in your 
mind. I confess I think no time should be lost in giving 
Craig some new discretionary instructions. If we should be 
forced to negotiate, consider the great ;nl vantage we should 


have in discussing the question of Malta with Sicily in our 

Believe me to be, dear Pitt, &c., Hawkesbury. 

Earl Camden to Mr. Pitt. 

Arlington Street, Jan. 8, 1806. 

Dear Pitt, — I am sorry to hear from Loi'd Bathurst that, 
though you are recovering from your second fit of the gout, 
you do not feel that your strength is restored, and that you 
feel not very confident that you will be able to undergo the 
fatigue of attending Parliament at first. You will hear 
from others of the Cabinet on the subject ; but I wish at the 
same time to suggest to you my own opinion, as well as that 
of our colleagues, that if Parliament cannot be postponed for 
such a period as shall make it quite certain you can attend 
— which I understand to be the case — it is much better it 
should meet, and that you should not attempt to attend it. 
It is impossible that Opposition can press the discussion of 
the affairs on the Continent in your absence, and if they 
attempt it we ought to be obliged to them ; and the common 
routine of business can go on in both Houses during your 
convalescence, and we will endeavour, with as few references 
as possible, to keep the machine moving on. 

I therefore see no difficulty to your considering that you 
have several weeks before it is necessary to exert yourself ; 
and I have no doubt, from all I hear, you will be likely to 
recover long before, on public accounts, it is necessary. 

Lord Hawkesbury informs me that, instead of going to 
Salthill, which has been recommended to you, you should 
go to Coombe Wood, as your own house is somewhat 

It occurred to Lord Chatham and me that if you liked 
to go to Long's, it might be prepared, though Coombe 
appears to be very desirable ; and I beg to offer you Wilder- 
ness, which is perfectly well aired, if it is not too distant. I 
trust it is unnecessary to say how much it is at your service, 
and that it cannot be the slightest inconvenience to me that 
you should go there. My family will remove in less than a 

Most truly and sincerely yours, Camden. 




Mr. Canning to Mr. Pitt. 

South Hill, Jan. 9, 1806. 

The wish which you express in your letter of yesterday 
(which I have this moment received) tallies so exactly with 
my proposal to Charles, 1 that I hope nothing will prevent 
your putting them into execution. I write a line to Sir 
Walter to enter into a solemn engagement with him not to 
talk with you or (so far as I can help it) allow you to bilk 
upon interesting subjects, till you are fitter for it than you 
represent yourself to be. 

You shall have south rooms entirely to yourself, and see 
as little or as much of us as you please. 

And we have room for Charles and for Lady Hester, and 
for Sir Walter as long as he chooses to stay, or whenever he 
chooses to come back to you ; and moreover, for Sturges, or 
Huskisson, or Castlereagh, or anybody else whom you may 
wish to see, whenever it is fit that you should see them. 

So pray come, and stay till you are better able to bear 
the neighbourhood of town. I trust Parliament can be put 
off. God bless you. G. C. 

I need not tell you how anxiously Mrs. C. joins in my 

Mr. Sturges Bourne to Mr. Rose. 

Sunday, Jan. 12, 1806. 
Dear Rose, — Mr. Pitt arrived at Putney last night, 
having accomplished his journey with less fatigue than 
might have been expected ; and I have been with him this 
morning by his own desire. His appearance was not worse 
than I expected, though it seems to have struck Lady Hester 
very much. He thinks himself, however, better, particularly 
in the article of sleep. He is, however, very, very weak, and 
has a horror of all animal food. You will derive some com- 
fort from knowing that Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Baillie were 
waiting to see him when I came away. When he may 
expect to be able to attend to business and Parliament we 
must learn from them. He thinks of going to the Wilder- 
ness, which Lord Camden has offered him, and where he 

will be more out of the way of interruption 

Yours ever, most truly, W. S. B. 

1 Hon. Charles Stanhope. 

1806 HIS LAST LETTER. 385 

Pitt himself was not despondent, nor at all aware of 
the coming danger. His early friend Lord Wellesley 
had just arrived from India, and had written to him at 
Bath. To that communication Pitt replied as follows. 
It is, so far as I can trace, the last letter that he ever 

Putney Hill, Sunday, Jan. 12, 1806. 

My dear Wellesley, — On my arrival here last night, I 
received, with inexpressible pleasure, your most friendly and 
affectionate letter. If I was not strongly advised to keep 
out of London till I have acquired a little more strength, I 
would have come up immediately for the purpose of seeing 
you at the first possible moment. As it is, I am afraid I 
must trust to your goodness to give me the satisfaction of 
seeing you here, the first hour you can spare for that pur- 
pose. If you can without inconvenience make it about the 
middle of the day (in English style, between two and four), 
it would suit me rather better than any other time; but 
none can be inconvenient. 

I am recovering rather slowly from a series of stomach 
complaints, followed by severe attacks of gout, but I believe 
I am now in the way of real amendment. 

Ever most truly and affectionately yours, W. Pitt. l 

In the forenoon of Monday the 13th Pitt was able 
to take an airing in his coach, and later in the day he 
received the visit of his two principal colleagues, Lords 
Hawkesbury and Castlereagh. They had to determine 
with him some business that could no longer be de- 
ferred — the question of recalling the British troops from 
the north of Germany. They stayed but a short time, 
and endeavoured to spare Mr. Pitt as much as possible. 
Still he was much the worse for their visit, and next 
morning the ill effect was even more plainly observed. 

Next morning, however, that is on Tuesday the 14th, 
Pitt went out again to drive in his carriage. 2 It was 

1 This letter was first published by Lord Wellesley himself in 
1836. {Quarterly Review, No. cxiv. p. 491.) 

2 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. ii. p. 2o. The Speaker derived 
his information from Mr. St urges Bourne. 



thc last time that he ever left his house. In the after- 
noon his brother Lord Chatham paid him a visit. That 
day also Lord Wellesley came. The heart of Mr. Pitt 
glowed with gladness at the first sight of his dear and 
long absent friend. ' His spirits,' so writes Lord 
Wellesley in his reminiscences of 1836, 'appeared to 
be as high as I had ever seen them, and his under- 
standing as vigorous and clear. Amongst other topics 
he told me with great kindness and feeling that since 
he had seen me he had been happy to become acquainted 
with my brother Arthur, of whom he spoke in the 
warmest terms of commendation. He said, "I never 
met any military officer with whom it was so satisfactory 
to converse. He states every difficulty before he un- 
dertakes any service, but none after he has under- 
taken it.'" " 

Any man who had the honour to know the Duke of 
Wellington will, I am sure, acknowledge how discrimi- 
nating, how especially characteristic of His Grace's turn 
of mind, was the eulogy which Mr. Pitt here expressed. 

But the excitement of this interview was too great 
for Pitt's enfeebled frame. He fainted away before 
Lord Wellesley left the room. This we learn from 
Lord Malmesbury's journal. Lord Wellesley without 
recording this particular incident proceeds to state the 
general impression which it left upon him : ' Notwith- 
standing Mr. Pitt's kindness and cheerfulness, I saw that 
the hand of death was fixed upon him. This melancholy 
truth was not known or believed by either his friends 
or opponents. . . I warned Lord Grrenville of Mr. Pitt's 
approaching death. He received the fatal intelligence 
with the utmost feeling in an agony of tears, and imme- 
diately determined that all hostility in Parliament 
should be suspended.' 

Such were not, however, the anticipations of Dr. Baillie 
or Dr. Reynolds when they saw Mr. Pitt on Sunday the 
12th. They said that the probability was in favour 
of Mr. Pitt's recovery; and that if his complaint should 


not take an unfavourable turn, he might be able to 
attend to business in about a month. 

So early as the Saturday or Sunday the Bishop of 
Lincoln had arrived at Putney, where he remained in 
constant and close attendance on his early pupil and 
friend. On Wednesday the loth Mr. Rose called; 
but by that time the physicians saw and felt the mischief 
which political visits, however kindly meant, produced. 
Thus writes Mr. Rose in his journal : — 

Sir Walter Farquhar, whom I found in the house, said 
so much on the subject that I positively declined going to 
Mr. Pitt on being requested by him to do so through the 
Bishop of Lincoln. Mr. Pitt then insisted that I should not 
leave the house till evening, and about eight o'clock Sir 
Walter brought me a message to say he was confident the 
seeing me would do him good. I therefore no longer hesi- 
tated, but went up to his room and found him lying on a 
sofa, emaciated to a degree I could not have conceived. He 
pressed my hand with all the force he could (feebly enough, 
God knows !), and told me earnestly he found himself better 
for having me by the hand. I did not remain with him fox- 
more than five minutes. The short conversation was quite 
general, as I felt it of importance not to touch on any topic 
that could agitate his mind in the slightest degree ; and at 
ten in the evening I left the house. His countenance was 
changed extremely, his voice weak, and his body almost 
wasted, and so indeed were his limbs. 

On the evening of the next day Mr. Rose received a 
bulletin of health, as follows : — 

The Bishop of Lincoln to Mr. Rose. 

Putnev Heath, Thursday, 9J p.m. 
(Jan. 16.) 

My dear Sir, — I will just tell you that Mr. Pitt has con- 
tinued in bed the whole day quiet and composed upon the 
whole, and without any increase of unpleasant symptoms. 
He is going to be removed to his sofa for an hour. Sir 
Walter's report is rather more favourable. T hope we shall 
see you to-morrow. Ever yours, G.Lincoln. 

c c 2 


'From Thursday the 16th to Sunday the 19th,' con- 
tinues Mr. Rose, 'there was no considerable alteration 
in Mr. Pitt. He took no nourishment of any sort except 
occasionally a small cup of broth, which seldom re- 
mained on his stomach ; and he hardly spoke at all, 
though as entirely right in his mind as at any time in 
his life. The very little he did say to his physicians 
and to the Bishop of Lincoln (the only persons except 
servants who saw him) in this interval had not the re- 
motest tendency to anything respecting public affairs.' ' 

It appears, however, from the statement of another 
writer of good information, that on the Friday Lord 
Chatham also was admitted to his bedside. 2 

But the most authentic and the most important 
narrative of Mr. Pitt's last days is to be found in some 
notes drawn up at the time by my uncle, the Hon. 
James Hamilton Stanhope. These notes will suffi- 
ciently explain themselves ; and it only remains for me 
to state how they came into my hands. James Stan- 
hope presented them to our kinsman, the Earl of 
Harrington. On Lord Harrington's decease they passed 
with other papers to his son-in-law, the Marquis of 
Tavistock, subsequently Duke of Bedford. The Duke 
in November, I860, only a few months before his own 
lamented death, most kindly sent me the original 
manuscript, which, until then, I had never seen, nor 
even heard mentioned. 

Notes of Mr. Pitt's last illness. 

I returned to Downing Street from Norman Cross, to 
which place I had escorted a party of French prisoners, on 
the night of Lord Nelson's funeral. Mr. Pitt was then on 
his way from Bath to Putney. I heard of his being very 
ill, but had not the slightest idea of the fatal event which 
shortly took place being so near. 

Among the accounts that I heard, the circumstance of 

' Diaries of Mr. Kose, vol. ii. p. 224. 

'-' See the Character inserted in the Annual Register, 1806, 
p. 882. 


Mr. Pitt having lost the deep tone and wondeiful harmony 
which characterised his voice both in public and private, and 
that it had become feeble and tremulous, alarmed me the 
most. My sister remained entirely at Putney from Mr. 
Pitt's arrival till the dinner that was given at Downing 
Street previous to the opening of Parliament. As he was 
advised to be kept very quiet, and an interview which he 
had with Lord Hawkesbury was productive of considerable 
evil, I did not go to Putney till Sunday the 19th, when I 
went in the carriage with Hester. When we came within 
three hundred yards of the house, Mr. Rose stopped the 
carriage. We immediately conceived the most dreadful ap- 
prehensions when we perceived him in tears, and his manner 
exhibiting marks of the most poignant grief. He said, ' I 
fear there is danger ; ' and I believe these were his only 
words. On arriving at the house we found the melancholy 
intelligence but too true, and that apprehensions were enter- 
tained for his life, owing to a typhus fever which had suc- 
ceeded his state of debility. On the Sunday he, however, 
took two eggs beaten up, and on account of their remaining 
on his stomach considerable hopes were entertained by Sir 
W. Farquhar. He passed a tolerable night, but on the 
Monday evening [Jan. 20] grew worse. He passed a bad 
night, and on the Tuesday morning [Jan. 21] was certainly 
considerably worse. 

During these days a great number of people of all ranks 
called to inquire after his health. Lord Chatham called on 
Tuesday morning, but by the advice of Sir Walter and 
Doctors Baillie and Reynolds (who had been sent for on the 
Monday) was not allowed to see him. The Dukes of Cam- 
bridge and Cumberland, besides Canning, Sturges, Steele, 
Rose, &c, called on the Tuesday. On Wednesday morning 
[Jan. 22] his pulse was at times as high as 130. He was very 
faint, and could not retain any nourishment he took. It was 
then considered necessary to acquaint Mr. Pitt with his 
danger, which the Bishop of Lincoln did at about eight on 
Wednesday morning. Not being present myself, I cannot 
decidedly state the particulars of the interview ; but I 
understood that the Bishop offered to administer the Sacra- 
ment, which Mr. Pitt declined, alleging his un worthiness of 
receiving it. The Bishop prayed with Mr. Pitt for some 
time by his bed side. Mr. Pitt received the intelligence of 


his own danger with unexampled firmness, and expressed to 
the Bishop every sentiment worthy of a real Christian. He 
then stated to the Bishop of Lincoln his last wishes, which I 
need not repeat, from their having already appeared in the 
public prints. Mr. Pitt attempted to write himself, but was 
unable. He then dictated to the Bishop, and afterwards 
read what the Bishop had written aloud, and signed it in the 
presence of three witnesses, two of whom were the Bishop 
and Sir Walter, the other being his own and faithful foot- 
man, Parslow. 

After this was concluded, Mr. Pitt begged to be left 
alone, and he remained composed and apparently asleep for 
two or three horns. Doctors Baillie and Reynolds arrived 
about three, and gave as their opinion that Mr. Pitt could 
not live above twenty-four hours. Our own feelings in 
losing our only protector, who had reared us with more than 
parental care, I need not attempt to describe. 

Prom Wednesday morning I did not leave his room 
except for a few minutes till the time of his death, though I 
did not allow him to see me, as I felt myself unequal to the 
dreadful scene of parting with him, and feared (although he 
was given over) that the exertion on his part might hasten 
the dreadful event which now appeared inevitable. Hester 
applied for leave to see him, but was refused. Taking, how- 
ever, the opportunity of Sir Walter's being at dinner, she 
went into Mr. Pitt's room. Though even then wandering a 
little, he immediately recollected her, and with his usual 
angelic mildness wished her future happiness, and gave her 
a most solemn blessing and affectionate farewell. On her 
leaving the room I entered it, and for some time afterwards 
Mr. Pitt continued to speak of her, and several times re- 
peated, ' Dear soul, I know she loves me ! Where is Hester? 
Is Hester gone ? ' In the evening Sir Walter gave him some 
champagne, in hopes of keeping up for a time his wasting 
and almost subdued strength ; and as Mr. Pitt seemed to 
feel pain in swallowing it, owing to the thrush in his throat, 
Sir Walter said : • I am sorry, Sir, to give you pain. Do 
not take it unkind.' Mr. Pitt, with that mildness which 
adorned his private life, replied : ' I never take anything 
unkind that is meant for my good.' At three o'clock on 
Wednesday Colonel Taylor arrived express from His Majesty 
at Windsor, and returned with the melancholy [news] of all 


hopes having ceased. I remained the whole of Wednesday 
night with Mr. Pitt. His mind seemed fixed on the affairs 
of the country, and he expressed his thoughts aloud, though 
sometimes incoherently. He spoke a good deal concerning a 
private letter from Lord Harrowby, and frequently inquired 
the direction of the wind ; then said, answering himself, 
' East ; ah ! that will do ; that will bring him quick : ' at 
other times seemed to be in conversation with a messenger, 
and sometimes cried out ' Hear, hear ! ' as if in the House of 
Commons. During the time he did not speak he moaned 
considerably, crying, ' dear ! O Lord ! ' Towards twelve 
the rattles came in his throat, and proclaimed approaching 
dissolution. Sir Walter, the Bishop, Charles, and my sister 
were lying down on their beds, overcome with fatigue. At 
one [Jan. 23] a Mi 1 . South arrived froni town in a chaise, 
bringing a vial of hartshorn oil, a spoonful of which he in- 
sisted on Mr. Pitt's taking, as he had known it recover 
people in the last agonies. Remonstrance as to its certain 
inefficacy was useless, and on Sir W. saying that it could be 
of no detriment, we poured a couple of spoonfuls down Mr. 
Pitt's throat. It produced no effect but a little convulsive 
cough. In about half an hour Mr. South returned to town ; 
at about half-past two Mr. Pitt ceased moaning, and did not 
speak or make the slightest sound for some time, as his 
extremities were then growing chilly. I feared he was 
dying ; but shortly afterwards, with a much clearer voice 
than he spoke in before, and in a tone I never shall forget, 
he exclaimed, ' Oh, my country ! how I leave my country ! ' l 
From that time he never spoke or moved, and at half-past 
four expired without a groan or struggle. His strength 
being quite exhausted, his life departed like a candle burning 

Mr. Pitt during his illness frequently inquired after 
Charles and myself, and during his wanderings often re- 
peated our names, in the same manner as he did Hester's 
after her leaving the room. At five I left Putney for Down- 
ing Street in Mr. Pitt's carriage, where with Mr. Adams we 
sealed up his books and papers, &c, &c. I made these 
minutes on the Sunday [January 26], and am therefore 
certain they are correct. James H. Stanhope. 

1 See note B at the end of the volume. 


To this narrative I have only to add the statement 
of what passed when, on the morning of the 22nd, the 
Bishop of Lincoln and Mr. Pitt were alone together. 
The statement was made by the Bishop not many days 
afterwards to several friends of Mr. Pitt — to one of 
them, indeed, in the course of that very forenoon. 1 It 
was since drawn out — in a form only perhaps a little 
amplified — by Mr. Gifford for his « Life of Pitt.' We 
must therefore regard it, or at least the substance 
of it, as resting on the Bishop's positive and direct 

It appears, then, that the Bishop, in Sir Walter 
Farquhar's presence, went up to Mr. Pitt's bedside, made 
known to him as gently as he could his state of immi- 
nent danger, and asked his leave to read prayers to 
him and to administer the Sacrament. Mr. Pitt re- 
ceived the tidings with perfect composure and firmness. 
Turning his head to Sir Walter, who stood on the other 
side of the bed, he said, slowly : ' How long do you 
think I have to Hve ? ' Sir Walter replied that he 
could not say, and that perhaps Mr. Pitt might 
recover. Here Mr. Pitt half smiled, as showing that 
he well understood the little weight of such a phrase ; 
and presently Sir Walter left him and the Bishop 
alone. — Of the Sacrament Mr. Pitt said : ' that I have 
not strength to go through.' The Bishop then desired 
to pray with him. The answer of Mr. Pitt was as 
follows : ' I have, as I fear is the case with many others, 
neglected prayer too much to allow me to hope that it 
can be very efficacious now. But' — rising in his bed 
as he spoke, and clasping his hands fervently together 
— ' I throw myself entirely upon the mercy of God 
through the merits of Christ.' The Bishop then read 
prayers, and Mr. Pitt joined in them, his hands clasped, 
with much earnestness. 

Three weeks afterwards, when the Bishop and 

1 Diaries of Mr. Rose, vol. ii. p. 230. Compare with (his passage 
another at p. 254. 

1806 HIS DEATH. 393 

Mr. Rose were alone together at Buckden Palace, and 
frequently reverted to their ever dear friend, the Bishop 
repeated the same account, adding, however, one other 
circumstance, which is nowhere else to be found 
recorded. ' I learned,' writes Mr. Rose, ' that although 
Mr. Pitt was too weak to say much, he (when he spoke 
of his neglect of prayer) alluded to the innocency of 
his life, and expressed a confident hope of the mercy of 
God through the intercession of his Redeemer ; and 
that with great fervour.' ' We find, then, that the 
remembrance of the ' innocency of his life ' was 
amongst the thoughts that consoled Mr. Pitt in his 
dying hours. 

These religious duties having been performed, the 
Bishop next asked of Mr. Pitt his testamentary injunc- 
tions. ' Although,' said the Bishop, ' you have no 
property to bequeath, your papers are of importance, 
and you may probably wish to give some directions 
about them.' Mr. Pitt was too weak to write at length, 
but he dictated to the Bishop the substance of his 
wishes in three separate schedules, which he afterwards 
signed. They were as follows : — 


I owe Sir Walter Farquhar one thousand guineas from 
October, 1805, as a professional debt. W. Pitt. 

12,000?., with interest from October, 1801, to Mr. Long, 
Mr. Steele, Lord Carrington, Bishop of Lincoln, Lord 
Camden, Mr. Joseph Smith, and I earnestly request their 
acceptance of it. I wish, if means can be found for it, of 
paying double the wages of all my servants who were with 
me at my decease. W. Pitt. 

I wish my brother, with the Bishop of Lincoln, to look 
over my papers, and to settle my affairs. I owe more than 
I can leave Ijehind me. W. Pitt. 

With a most kindly thought for the situation of his 
1 Diary, Sunday, February 16, 1806. 


three nieces, deprived as they were of a father's care, 
Mr. Pitt moreover expressed a wish that a pension of 
1,000/. or 1,200/. a-year might be settled upon Hester, 
and a pension also upon each of her two sisters. ' I am 
far from saying,' he added, ' that my public services 
have earned it, but still I hope my wish may be 
complied with.' 

The Bishop, on going back to his own room, found 
there Mr. Rose, whom he had desired to wait for him. 
He told him what had passed with Mr. Pitt both as to 
spiritual and as to worldly concerns ; and he showed 
him the three schedules, with the ink hardly dry ; and 
' I observed,' says Mr. Rose, ' that the signatures varied 
very little from the manner in which Mr. Pitt signed 
his name when in health.' 

On the 27th of February following the three Sche- 
dules, as constituting the Will of Mr. Pitt, were proved 
at Doctors' Commons by W. D. Adams, Esq., and 
W. Huskisson, Esq., on behalf of the two Executors, 
Lord Chatham and the Bishop of Lincoln. 1 


Embarrassment of Ministers — Meeting of Parliament — Effect of the 
intelligence of Pitt's death — New administration formed — Votes 
in the House of Commons —Parliamentary grant for the payment 
of Pitt's debts — Pensions to his nieces— His public funeral — 
Statues and portraits — Pitt's character— His religious principled 
— Goodness to the poor — Neglect of Literature and the Fine Aits 
Skill in classical versions — As a public speaker — As Minister 
of the Finances— His conduct of the war — Conclusion. 

It was not till past the middle of January that either 
friends or foes, for the most part, foreboded the ap- 
proaching end of Mr. Pitt. In general his was thought 

' Ann. Register, 1806, p. 383. 


to be only a case of enfeebled health or of slow re- 
covery. But after Monday the 13th he had not been 
able to see any of his colleagues. Even by letter he 
could not be consulted on any point of public business. 
It was clear, on the most sanguine view, that the 
Session must be opened in his absence, and that three 
or four weeks at the least must elapse before he could 
resume his place in the House of Commons. 

Under such circumstances the position of the re- 
maining Ministers was one of great embarrassment and 
difficulty. On Sunday the 19th a meeting was held 
at Lord Castlereagh's, not limited to members of the 
Cabinet, but comprising also the Privy Councillors in 
office. The object was to consider the terms of the 
King's Speech. It was agreed to render the Speech as 
unexceptionable as it could be, in order to take the 
best chance of unanimity on the Address. With this 
view some small alterations were made in the draft 
proposed. The King was to begin by referring to the 
decisive success at sea with which Providence had 
blessed our arms. His Majesty was to commend the 
family of Lord Nelson to some great mark of national 
munificence. He was to declare that the treaties of 
alliance entered into with Foreign Powers should be 
forthwith laid before Parliament, and to lament that 
the events of the war in Germany had so much disap- 
pointed his hopes. But it was to be urged, as a ground 
of consolation, that ' His Majesty continues to receive 
from his august ally the Emperor of Russia the strongest 
assurances of unshaken adherence.' The Speech was 
further to announce His Majesty's gift of one million 
sterling (part of his proceeds from the sale of prizes) to 
the public service. 

The customary dinner in Downing Street in honour 
of the Queen's Birthday had been fixed for Saturday 
the 18th. Although the cards were already issued, 
several of Mr. Pitt's friends in office, considering his 
state of health, wished the entertainment to be post- 


poned. Bat Mr. Pitt himself had particularly desired 
that the dinner might take place, 1 and take place it did 
accordingly. It was, indeed, a most mournful meal. 
The conversation seems to have turned almost entirely 
on the rumours and reports from the sick-room at Put- 
ney. Canning said : « It was the relapse of a single day 
which reduced Mr. Pitt to the wreck he now is.' That 
was the sad day of the Austerlitz despatch. 

On Monday the 20th there was a second official 
dinner in Downing Street, when, in Pitt's absence, Lord 
Castlereagh read the King's Speech to the assembled 

Meanwhile on the Opposition side an Amendment to 
the Address had been prepared, reflecting on the disas- 
ters of the war in Germany, and imputing them to the 
course of policy in England. The Amendment was to 
be moved in the one House by Lord Henry Petty ; in 
the other by Earl Cowper. 2 But the intelligence of 
Pitt's alarming illness wrought a change in this inten- 
tion, and the result may best be told from the Journal 
of Francis Horner. 

Journal, Jan. 22, 1806. 

A few hours before going down to Westminster there 
was a meeting at Mr. Fox's house of a few of the principal 
persons of Opposition ; Cowper was there. Fox stated to 
them that he thought it impossible they could enter into the 
discussion ; he could not while they had the idea that Pitt 
was in extremities — ' mentem mortalia tangunt' he said. 
Cowper desciibed him as appearing to feel very sensibly the 
calamity of his distinguished rival ; and he described it by 
saying that Fox appeared to feel more than Lord Grenville, 
who was present also. 

1 Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. ii. p. 25. It would seem from 
this journal (and it may likewise be inferred f nun James Stanhope's 
notes) thai this dinner was considered of importance. At Pitt's 
desire Lady Hester went ap from Putney to attend it. 

2 This was Peter Leopold, the fifth Karl, horn in 1778. In July, 
180">, lie had married the daughter of Lord Melbourne, the Hon. 
Emily Lamb, now (18G1) the Viscountess I'almerston. 


Here, however, Lord Cowper was unjust, though not 
from any fault of his own. I have already cited the 
statement of Lord Wellesley, that Lord Grenville, when 
privately apprised, some days before, of Mr. Pitt's 
approaching dissolution, was melted to an agony of 
tears. What Lord Cowper saw was therefore the first 
emotion of Mr. Fox, but not the first emotion of Lord 

From this change of plan in the Opposition chiefs, 
there was but little of interest in the first day's pro- 
ceedings. The Parliament was opened by Commission. 
When in both Houses the Address had been duly moved 
and seconded, Earl Cowper rose in one place and Lord 
Henry Petty in the other, and read forth the Amend- 
ment which they had designed. They alluded to the 
personal feelings from which they had forborne to move 
it ; but they observed that the situation of the country 
would brook no long delay, and they announced that on 
the Monday following they would bring forward the 
same, or nearly the same, words as a substantive vote. 
In the Commons Mr. Fox rose next to express his con- 
currence in the course taken by his friends, and also his 
' indignation at those ill-concerted, ill-conducted, ill- 
supported, and ill-executed plans' of Ministers. Lord 
Castlereagh and Mr. Windham said each a few words, 
and the House adjourned. 

On Thursday the 23rd the Members in due course 
were proceeding, with the Speaker at their head, to St. 
James's, to present to His Majesty the Address which 
they had voted, when they received intelligence that 
Mr. Pitt had expired at an early hour that morning. 
Scarce any one among them, perhaps, but was more or 
less solemnly impressed. A great pillar of the state had 
fallen, and a new phase in politics had begun. 

For near nineteen years in all Mr. Pitt had been 
First Lord of the Treasury, and undisputed chief of the 
administration. In stating this fact Lord Macaulay has 
well observed, that since Parliamentary government 


was established in England no English statesman has 
held supreme power so long. Walpole, he adds, was 
indeed First Lord of the Treasury during more than 
twenty years ; but it was not till Walpole had been for 
some time First Lord of the Treasury that he could be 
properly called Prime Minister. 1 

The King was not without some hopes that, even 
without Mr. Pitt, Ids Ministers might stand their 
ground. He conveyed to them an offer to that effect 
through Lord Hawkesbury, whom he designed as chief. 
But it appears to have been their unanimous opinion 
that such a scheme would not have the smallest pros- 
pect of success. Lord Hawkesbury therefore declined 
so short-lived a pre-eminence, although he took to him- 
self the office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, 
which was also left vacant by Mr. Pitt's decease. 

His Majesty, who had in fact no other option, next 
applied to Lord Grenville; and in the first days of 
February a Ministry was formed, comprising the chiefs 
of the three parties which had recently acted together 
in opposition. Lord Grenville became First Lord of 
the Treasury, Mr. Fox Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, and Lord Sidmouth Privy Seal. 

In the first interview of Mr. Fox at the Foreign 
Office with Count Stahremberg, the Austrian Minister, 
the latter asked : « Have you no difficulty respecting 
the Roman Catholic question ? ' To this Fox answered : 
' None at all. I am determined not to annoy my So- 
vereign by bringing it forward. 2 

The scope of the present work, however, is not at all 
concerned with the further political proceedings, except 
only so far as they conveyed tokens of respect to Mr. 
Pitt. So early as the 24th of January a notice for 
that object was given by the Hon. Henry Lascelles, the 
colleague of Mr. Wilberforce in the representation of 
Yorkshire, On the 27th he brought forward his motion. 

1 Biographies, p. 231. 

Life Of Lord Sidmouth, vol. ii. p. 435. 


It was for an Address to the Crown, ' that His Majesty 
wili be graciously pleased to give directions that the 
remains of the Eight Hon. William Pitt be interred at 
the public charge ; and that a monument be erected in 
the collegiate church of St. Peter, Westminster, to the 
memory of that excellent statesman, with an inscription 
expressive of the public sense of so great and irreparable 
a loss, and to assure His Majesty that this House will 
make good the expenses attending the same.' These 
were the exact words which the House of Commons had 
adopted in 1778 in honour of the great Lord Chatham. 
The friends of Mr. Pitt were determined to adhere to 
that noble precedent. They would neither add anything 
to these words to gratify their own devoted feelings, nor 
yet take anything from them to secure an unanimous 

The motion of Mr. Lascelles was seconded by the 
Marquis of Titchfield. It was warmly supported by 
Earl Temple and the Grenvilles. On the other hand, 
it encountered a keen resistance. Lord Folkestone was 
the first to speak against it. Windham also rose to 
oppose it, to the surprise and displeasure of those who 
remembered during how many years of his life he had 
been one of Pitt's Cabinet colleagues. Fox, who took 
the same course, was by no means open to the same 
objection. On the contrary, his speech deserves the 
praise of entire consistency, and not only of consistency, 
but of good taste and good feeling. ' If,' said he, 
' ambition, if the gratification of party feelings, were 
here my objects, it would be my interest as well as my 
inclination not to cross in this instance the views of the 
Noble Lord near me (Earl Temple), and other near re- 
lations of the deceased Minister, with whom I am now 
likely to be for the remainder of my life inseparably 
bound. ... If the mark of public respect were such as 
did not compromise my public duty in the compliance, 
no person would join in it more cheerfully and eagerly 
than I would. If, for instance, it had been proposed to 


remedy those pecuniary difficulties which Mr. Pitt had 
incurred in the course of his political life — if it had 
been proposed to do those things for his relations which 
his own acknowledged disinterestedness did not allow 
him to do— if it had been proposed to supply the defi- 
ciencies of his own fortune — I would most willingly con- 
sent that all this should be done in the most liberal 
manner. But it is a very different thing to be called 
upon to confer honours upon Mr. Pitt as an " excellent 
statesman." .... It cannot be expected that I should 
so far forget the principles I have uniformly professed, 
as to subscribe to the condemnation of those principles 
by agreeing to the motion now before the House.' 

In conversation subsequently with the Speaker, Mr. 
Fox said, ' I was under great difficulties on this occa- 
sion ; but I refused to waive my opposition to this vote, 
although Lord Grenville asked it of me as a personal 
favour.' ' 

Lord Castlereagh, who summed up the debate on 
the part of the Ministers, acknowledged the liberal and 
candid tone of the great Whig orator, ' who,' he added, 
' spoke throughout by no means in the spirit of an ad- 
versary.' He had no reason at all to complain of the 
course adopted by Fox and by Fox's friends; but he 
confidently appealed to the House at large. Nor was 
the appeal made in vain. The motion was carried by 
overwhelming numbers — 258 votes against 89. 

Before the House rose that night, notice was given 
by Mr. Cartwright, one of the Members for North- 
amptonshire, that on the Monday following, the 3rd of 
February, he should bring forward a motion for the pay- 
ment of Mr. Pitt's debts. 

The question of these debts had been a matter of 
anxious consideration among Pitt's personal friends. 
They held two or three small meetings on the subject. 
It was found that the outstanding bills, taken alto- 
gether, exceeded the assets by the vast sum of 40,000£. 

1 Maries of Lord Colchester, vol. ii. p. 31. 


Mr. Wilberforce and some others wished to raise the 
money by private contributions ; but from the very 
large amount required, they did not find the prospect of 
success so promising as at first sight it had seemed. It 
was under these circumstances that Mr. Cartwright gave 
his notice in the House of Commons. 

Another question then arose. Should the application 
to Parliament include the further sum of 12,000L, as 
advanced to Mr. Pitt by some friends in 1801 ? The 
Bishop of Lincoln, as one of the subscribers to that 
sum, argued that it should. To do otherwise, he said, 
would be to contravene the dying request of Mr. Pitt ; 
but the other subscribers took a different view. One 
of them, Mr. Wilberforce, went so far as to declare 
solemnly, that if this further grant were proposed in 
Parliament, he would rise in his place and resist it to 
the utmost of his power. In the teeth of such a decla- 
ration the Bishop could not persevere. It was finally 
determined that the sum asked of Parliament should 
not exceed the 40,000k 1 

Such then was the proposal which, in the form of 
an Address to the Crown, and without entering into 
any particulars, Mr. Cartwright made in the House of 
Commons on the 3rd of February. His seconder was 
Mr. Wilbraham Bootle, the same who in 1828 was 
raised to the peerage as Lord Skelmersdale. There 
ensued another long debate, though with no great 
difference of opinion. Mr. O'Hara, Member for Sligo, 
and Mr. William Smith, Member for Norwich, expressed 
some hesitation. They were very moderate, however, 
when compared to the Viscount Folkestone. ' The 
public services of Mr. Pitt,' exclaimed his Lordship, 
* I deny. His great talents I do not admit.' But even 
Lord Folkestone added, that although he objected to 

1 Compare on this transaction the Diaries of Mr. Wilberforce 
(vol. iii. p. 248) with those of Mr. Rose (vol. ii. p. 243). Lord 
Malmesbury, who was not present, appears to have misunderstood 
the account that Lord Harrington gave him (vol. iv. p. 350). 

vol. iii. n n 


the grant, he should not oppose it. In a more generous 
spirit both Fox and Windham rose to express the plea- 
sure that they felt in assenting. ' Never in my life,' 
cried Fox, ' did I give a vote with more satisfaction than 
I shall do this night in support of the motion.' Finally 
it passed ncm. con. The money was voted accordingly, 
and was paid to the account of the Executors. 

There was also fulfilled the last request of Mr. Pitt 
in behalf of his Stanhope nieces. A pension of 1,200?. 
a-year was granted to Lady Hester, and a pension of 
600?. a-year to each of her two sisters. The warrants 
for this purpose were carried to the King for signature 
by Lord Hawkesbury before he retired from office. 
Lady Hester's, when completed, bore the date of Janu- 
ary 30, 1806. But the pensions to her sisters were 
placed on a different branch of the Four and a Half 
per Cent. Duties, not payable, as the first, by the officer 
of the fund, who was technically called ' the Husband.' 
All the pensions on this inferior branch were subject to 
a yearly deduction of twenty-five per cent, from their 
nominal amount. 1 

The Public Funeral which the House of Commons 
had decreed to the great statesman was fixed for Satur- 
day the 22nd of February. During the two previous 
days the coffin lay in state in the Painted Chamber. 
At half-past twelve, on the appointed day, the mournful 
procession began to move from Westminster Hall. The 
pall was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury 
and three Dukes — Beaufort, Rutland, and Montrose. 
Lord Chatham was of course the Chief Mourner. Im- 
mediately behind him walked six Assistant Mourners, 
among whom were Lord Wellesley and the New Prime 
Minister, Lord Grenville. The 'Banner of Emblems,' 
which followed, was borne by Mr. Spencer Perceval, 
supported on the left by Mr. Rose, on the right by Mr. 
Canning. In front, the l Banner of the Crest of Pitt ' 

1 Appendix to the Third Report from the Committee on the 
Public Expenditure in 1807, pp. 140 and 324. 


was borne by a kinsman of the family, Thomas Chol- 
mondeley of Cheshire, supported by Morton Pitt and 
Wilberforce. Sir Arthur Wellesley and his brother 
Henry walked among the seven younger sons of Earls. 
There was the Speaker in his robes ; the Lord Mayor in 
his collar and chain. There were a considerable number 
of the Peers ; a considerable number also of the Mem- 
bers of the House of Commons ; and the procession was 
closed by the officers of the Cinque Port Volunteers.' 

Striking indeed, most striking, must the sight have 
been when the coffin of Pitt was lowered to its resting 
place in full view of the statue of Chatham. ' It 
seemed,' says Mr. Wilberforce, ' as though his statue 
were looking down with consternation into the grave 
which was opened for his favourite son, the last per- 
petuator of the name.' 2 With no less feeling does 
Lord Wellesley describe the solemn scene : — ' We at- 
tended him to Westminster Abbey. There the grave 
of his illustrious father was opened to receive him, and 
we saw his remains deposited on the coffin of his vene- 
rated parent. What grave contains such a father and 
such a son ? What sepulchre embosoms the remains 
of so much human excellence and glory?' 3 

The Monument to Mr. Pitt which the House of 
Commons had voted was for its execution entrusted to 
Sir Eichard Westmacott, at the cost of 6,300?. It was 
not raised, however, in the north transept near the place 
of his interment, but over the great western doors — a 
position far too high for genera] effect. 

Even during the lifetime of Pitt a statue to him 
had been in contemplation. This was in the spring of 
1802. The subscriptions for it had begun, and were 

' London Gazette, March 1-4, 1806. I have a copy of this among 
my father's papers, with some MS. corrections made at the time. 
Thus by some inadvertency the name of the Bishop of Lincoln is 
omitted in the printed copy. As joint Executor he walked directly 
behind the ' Banner of Emblems.' 

2 Life, vol. iii. p. 254. » Letter dated Nov. 22, 1836. 

d n 2 


in rapid progress, to the great wrath of the Opposition 


What ! to a wolf a statue give, 
That scarce would suffer us to live ? 

So begins a poem of Peter Pindar on the subject. 1 
But the design was arrested by Pitt himself. He de- 
clared that he would not accept nor agree to an honour 
so unusual to any man in his lifetime. The sum already 
raised was therefore not applied, but was for the pre- 
sent vested in the public funds in the name of certain 
Trustees. 2 

Since the death of Mr. Pitt, however, and with the 
aid, I presume, of that subscription, two statues of 
especial merit have risen to his memory. The one, in 
marble, by Nollekens, stands in the Senate House at 
Cambridge ; the other, in bronze, by Chantrey, stands 
in the centre of Hanover Square. Besides the first of 
these, Nollekens made several busts of excellent like- 
ness, which have been often copied and repeated. One 
of the best of the originals was inherited by the pre- 
sent Earl Granville from his father, the personal friend 
of Pitt. In 1861 Lord Granville, with that liberal 
spirit which has always marked his character, presented 
it to the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. 

Of the portraits, in oil, of Pitt, by far the best, and 
indeed the only good ones, are by Gainsborough, Hopp- 
ner, and Lawrence. The former was painted during 
the first years of his administration. It was often re- 
peated by Gainsborough himself, and still more often 
copied by his pupils — sometimes in full length, some- 
times in half length, and sometimes only in head size. 
One of the best of the originals, which is now in my 
possession, has supplied one of the engravings to my 
present work. 

Pitt on the other hand did not sit to Hoppner until 
the early part of 1 805. That portrait was painted for 
his colleague and friend Lord Mulgrave, and is now at 

1 Works, vol. iv. p. 506. 2 Ann. Register, 1802, p. 184. 

1806 HIS PORTRAITS. 405 

Mulgrave Castle. But after Pitt's death there were 
several repetitions of it, and very many copies of copies. 1 

The portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence is at full 
length, and hangs in the great gallery at Windsor 
Castle. In point of artistic genius and merit it may 
be deemed to surpass all other pictures of Pitt. I was 
assured by the late Lord Aberdeen that Pitt never sat 
for it ; but being on a visit at the Priory, where Law- 
rence had been invited, and where Lord Aberdeen was 
also among the guests, Lawrence applied himself all 
the time he was in Pitt's company to an intense study 
of his features, and as soon as he was again alone has- 
tened to transfer his impressions to his canvas. 

Of the drawings and sketches I would mention espe- 
cially : first, the small sketch by Copley, taken of Mr. 
Pitt, as I conjecture, before he was of age. It has been 
twice engraved : first at the time by Bartolozzi, but by 
no means with Bartolozzi's usual skill ; and secondly, 
as a frontispiece in the first volume of this biography. 
Next, the drawing by Edridge taken in 1801, and en- 
graved in the course of the same year. It is a small 
full length, which represents Mr. Pitt in his every day 
attire and seated at his usual writing table. I have 
heard several persons who were intimate with Mr. Pitt 
declare themselves much struck at the faithful resem- 
blance of this print. 

Designing to reserve the rest of this chapter for a 
summary of Mr. Pitt's character, or for some scattered 
facts which bear upon it, I will in the first place in- 
sert two communications which have been addressed to 
me: — 

Right Hon. R. N. Hamilton to Earl Stanhope. 

Chesham Place, June 30, 1861. 

My dear Stanhope, — In early life it was my good fortune 
to hear many anecdotes of Mr. Pitt, which I now regret not 
having committed to paper. 

1 See note C. at the end of this volume. 


I well remember my father-in-law, the late Lord Elgin, 
describing the first interview he had with that distinguished 

It appears that Lord Elgin when a young man attracted 
the attention of the first Lord Melville, in consequence of a 
speech he made in the House of Lords on foreign affairs. 
Lord Melville, at that time known as Mr. Dundas, intimated 
to Lord Elgin that the Government was about to send some 
confidential person to Vienna on a mission that required se- 
crecy and despatch, and invited Lord Elgin to undertake the 
charge. Lord Elgin was too glad to accept the offer, and on 
that day received an invitation to dine with Mr. Pitt. 

To his surprise he found Mr. Pitt alone, and naturally 
felt embarrassed at being tete-a-tete with the great Minister. 

Mr. Pitt's manner and conversation were so engaging as 
to set him at ease, and they sat to a late hour conversing on 
foreign affairs. 

When Lord Elgin rose to depart, Mr. Pitt told him that 
it was most desirable that he should repair to Vienna as 
soon as possible. Lord Elgin replied, ' I am ready to go to- 
morrow, but I have no instructions.' Mr. Pitt then stated : 
' If you wait a little longer, you shall receive your instruc- 
tions before you leave the house.' He then called for writ- 
ing materials, and proceeded to write the instructions him- 
self. Lord Elgin observed that he wrote with wonderful 
rapidity, making at the time many erasures and alterations. 
When he had finished writing, he said : ' Here are your in- 
structions ; enclose them to Lord Carmarthen. He knows 
my handwriting, and will sign them at once.' 

Lord Elgin complied with Mr. Pitt's directions, and 
within twenty-four hours was on his way to Vienna. 

There was no Circumlocution Office in those days ! 

Very truly yours, E. N. Hamilton. 

The writer of the next letter has not given me per- 
mission to state his name : — 

July, 1861. 
Pitt was my earliest idol. I was five years old at the 
time of his death, but I remember it as yesterday. My 
mother at that time was living in great retirement during 
my father's absence on service; her children, of whom I was 
the eldest, were her chief, almost her only, companions, and 

1806 HIS CHARACTER. 407 

I was of course proportionably precocious. She was an 
anxious and gloomy politician, but not more gloomy than 
the threatening aspect of the times warranted. To me 
famines, invasions, and Jacobins (Radicals as yet were not) 
were objects of real and present dread. I well remember 
the burst of uncontrollable grief with which my mother 
received the news of Pitt's death. I stood by in mute terror 
for some time, and then stole up to my own little room to 
cry unchecked (precocious patriot that I was) for my country. 
But do not suppose we were singular in our distress. Few 
as were the friends and neighbours we saw, I saw others, 
too, in tears. Politics had a reality then which in these days 
it is not easy to make understood. 

I forget when the late Lord Sidmouth died, and do not 
know whether it is possible you should have known him 
when you were a very young man. 

He was fond of talking of his political career. I remem- 
ber his telling me one day that the first time Pitt ever met 
Burke in society after the quarrel with Fox was at his (then 
Mr. Addington's) house. Pitt was not at that time alarmed 
at the possible spread of French doctrines in this country, 
and in reply to some foreboding remark of Burke's, he said : 
' Oh ! I am not at all afraid for England ; we shall stand till 
the Day of Judgment.' ' Ay, Sir,' retorted Burke, ' but it is 
the day of no judgment I am afraid of.' 

Believe me, &c, . 

The story which this last paragraph relates was also 
told by Lord Sidmouth to Dean Pellew, 1 who has been 
enabled, by means of a contemporary note, to fix the 
exact date of the meeting in question, namely, Satur- 
day the 24th of September, 1791. Besides Pitt, Burke, 
and Addington, the only other person present was Lord 
Grenville. It appears, however, from the contemporary 
note, that the dinner did not take place at Addington's 
house, but at Pitt's in Downing Street. 

There is an anecdote which Lord Sidmouth was also 
fond of telling of Pitt in company with another eminent 
man. Pitt — so Lord Sidmouth used to premise — had 

1 See a note in Pellew's Life of Lord Sidmouth, vol. i. p. 72. 


a talent of improving a man's own sentiments, and re- 
turning them to him in a better dress. Once, when 
Lord Sidmouth had dined at Pitt's house, with Dundas 
and Adam Smith, the latter said to Lord Sidmouth 
after dinner, ' What an extraordinary man Pitt is ! he 
makes me understand my own ideas better than be- 
fore.' 1 

The impression left by the great Minister on all who 
knew him was indeed, on several points, of no common 
kind. It is the more striking, since, in many cases, we 
find it come forth incidentally. ' Pitt, the most for- 
giving and easy-tempered of men' — so says Lord 
Malmesbury while treating of another subject. 2 ' Pitt 
is the most upright political character I ever knew or 
heard of,' — so writes Wilberforce to Bankes. 3 The ob- 
servation of Kose upon another feature of his character 
is no less weighty : — ' With respect to Mr. Pitt, I can 
say with the sincerest truth, that in an intercourse 
almost uninterrupted during more than twenty years I 
never saw him once out of temper, nor did ever one 
unpleasant sentence pass between us.' 4 

The religious principles of Mr. Pitt were seldom if 
ever discussed by him in general conversation. ' Pitt,' 
said Wilberforce to Lord Macaulay, ' was a man who 
always said less than he thought on such topics.' But as 
to his real feelings upon them, no testimony can be 
stronger than that of the eminent man who, up to 1797, 
lived with him on terms of close friendship, and almost 
daily intercourse. ' Mr. Pitt,' so Lord Wellesley writes, 
' had received regular and systematic instruction in the 
principles of the Christian religion, in the doctrine and 
discipline of the Church of England, and in every 
branch of general ecclesiastical history. His knowledge 
on these subjects was accurate and extensive. He was 
completely armed against all sceptical assaults, as well 
as against all fanatical illusion ; and in truth he was not 

1 Life by Dean Pellew, vol. i. p. 151. 2 Diaries, vol. iv. p. 185. 
" Letter dated Oct. 4, 1804. ' Diaries, vol. ii. p. 234. 

1806 HIS CHARACTER. 409 

merely a faithful and dutiful, but a learned member of 
our Established Church.' ' 

The goodness and gentleness of Mr. Pitt to all those 
who were any way dependent upon him formed a main 
feature of his character. To his domestics his indul- 
gence was indeed carried to a most faulty extreme, since 
he did not, as he ought, control their expenses or review 
their accounts. To the poor families around him he was 
ever ready to stretch forth his helping hand. When I 
used to live at Deal or Walmer, many years ago, I 
heard several stories of the kind, which at this distance 
of time I do not perfectly remember ; but in the course 
of 1861 I was informed that there were still living at the 
village of Keston, near Holwood, two persons who, or 
whose families, had been in the employment of Mr. Pitt. 
I went over one afternoon to see them, and will here 
insert my notes of what they told me : — 

Notes at Keston, August 24, 1861. 

Russell, once assistant carter to Mr. Pitt, now aged 82, a 
hale and cheery old man : — ' Mr. Pitt (God bless him !) was 
ever doing us some good thing. ... If goodness would keep 
people alive, Mr. Pitt would be alive now. 

' He could ne'er abide to see any of us poor folk stand 
with bare heads before him ; when he saw, as he came, any 
one uncover, his word was always, " Put on your hat, my 
friend." ' 

Betty Elliott, whose father and uncle were wood-cutters 
of Mr. Pitt. As a child she heard a great deal of his con- 
stant kindness to the poor. ' Surely he was missed when he 
went ; he was a rare good gentleman.' 

Once her uncle being drawn for a soldier, and very un- 
willing to serve, Mr. Pitt gave him money to purchase his 
release. And the bailiff told him, ' Mind you are not to go 
and thank master. He does not want to be thanked. If 
you thank him too much, he will never do anything else for 

1 Letter dated Nov. 22, 1836. 


With the well-known humanity of Mr. Pitt and his 
kindness to the poorer classes, I much doubt if I need 
have noticed the wholly unsupported statement to 
the contrary of a foreign writer. In a new work, 
La Femme, by M. Michelet, is a passage which may be 
thus translated : — 

* When the English manufacturers, though enor- 
mously enriched by their recent machinery, came to com- 
plain to Mr. Pitt, and said, " We can do no more ; we 
are not making money enough ! " Mr. Pitt uttered a 
dreadful phrase — un mot effroyable — which weighs upon 
his memory. He said, " Take the children ! " ' l 

I observe that no authority whatever is alleged to 
corroborate this story, and I must take leave to offer it 
a contradiction as direct and as decided as courtesy 

On no point in his life-time was Mr. Pitt more fre- 
quently assailed than on the strictness of his morals. 
It formed the burthen of the songs and squibs, and 
sometimes even of the speeches, made against him. As 
an Undergraduate at Cambridge, how cruel to repel the 
pretty flower-girls, ' who came fresh from the country, 
and who only endeavoured to sell to the young gentle- 
men their roses and lilies ! ' So writes one satirist who 
had taken Holy Orders. 2 As Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer, how unfair to lay a tax on all maid-servants, 
instead of flirting with two or three of them, as every 
gentleman should! So cried a whole chorus in the 
House of Commons. 3 Taunts like these find a ready 
echo in the days of youth, 

When all our locks were like the raven's wing. 

But at another period they may be differently viewed. 

1 La Femme, par Michelet, Introduction, ch. ii. (p. 21, ed. 18G0). 
I am sorry to find thai M. Jules Simon has without inquiry adopted 
that story in his subsequent very valuable and interesting work, 
L'O in- Here (p. 35). 

2 Peter Findar's Works, vol. iv. p. 507, ed. 1812. 

3 See the Debates especially of May 10 and June 8, 1785. 

1806 HIS CHARACTER. 411 

I have already cited the solemn testimony showing that 
Mr. Pitt in his dying hours derived consolation from 
remembering the innocency of his life. 

It is observed by Lord Macaulay as tending to ex- 
plain the abstinence of Mr. Pitt from loose amours, 
that ' his constitution was feeble ; he was very shy, and 
he was very busy.' l I do not deny a certain influence 
to each of these three causes ; but I think it is clear, 
from the last words of Mr. Pitt to Bishop Tomline, that 
there had been no indifference in him upon the subject. 
It is impossible that any man could derive any consola- 
tion on his death bed from the innocency of his past life, 
unless there had been in his youth self-control to exert, 
and temptation to overcome. 

It was not merely on this point, but on every other, 
that the feelings of Pitt were under the dominion of his 
resolute will. Whether in the debates of the Com- 
mons as their leader, or in the government of the 
country as its chief, he showed a thorough mastery 
over his own emotions, acting throughout, not on im- 
pulse, but on principle. With great truth does Lord 
Macaulay describe ' his usual majestic self possession.' 2 
This temper of Pitt well tallies with a reply from him 
which Lord Brougham has recorded. One day when 
the conversation turned upon the quality most required 
in a Prime Minister, and one said Eloquence, another 
Knowledge, and a third Toil, Mr. Pitt said, ' No ; 
Patience.' 3 

The self-command of Pitt is the more noteworthy, 
since in him it was not natural, but acquired. The very 
opposite disposition is ascribed to him in boyhood. ' Eager 
Mr. William ' is his mother's phrase in 1766. ' Impe- 
tuous William ' says his father at the same period. And 
in 1773 'William's ardour' is once again commemo- 
rated by Lord Chatham. 4 

1 Biographies, p. 183, ed. 1860. " Ibid. p. 225, ed. 1860. 

3 Lord Brougham's Sketches of Statesmen, vol. i. p. 278. 

4 See the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. pp. 392 and 393, and 
vol. iv. p. 267. 


Few men of note have travelled less than Mr. Pitt. 
His foreign tours, as we have seen, were limited to six 
weeks one autumn in France. He was never in Scot- 
land nor in Ireland. I cannot trace him to any more 
northerly point than Lord Westmorland's seat of 
Apthorp, in Northamptonshire ; and, except on circuit, 
he never went farther west than the King's Lodge, 

It has often been charged against Mr. Pitt, that 
during his long administration, he did nothing, or next 
to nothing to encourage Literature or the Fine Arts, or 
to reward the men who were rising to eminence in 
those walks of life. I am bound to say that I consider 
this charge to be well-founded. In some cases it is no 
doubt easy to offer an adequate defence. In the case 
of Porson, for instance, it must, I think, be owned that 
intemperate habits, no less than democratic views, un- 
fitted that eminent scholar for preferment at that time. 
But in the case of many others, as, for example, Cowper 
the poet, there were no such reasons to allege. In all 
these we seek in vain to trace the helping hand of the 
powerful Prime Minister. Even that scanty pittance 
which, under the most inappropriate form of an ex- 
ciseman's place, was bestowed on Burns, appears to have 
been the gift, not of Pitt, but of Dundas. 

I will here state the nearest approaches I have found 
of exceptions to this general neglect, as I fear I must 
regard it, on the part of Pitt. I call them approaches 
only, since, after all, they did not go further than endea- 
vours and intentions. 

In the first place, Pitt had wished to make Paley a 
Bishop. But the King, it is understood, resisted the 
proposal on account of the liberal tendency of some of 
the views of Government which the Moral Philosophy 
contains.' l 

Secondly, there were few warmer admirers than was 
Pitt of the Lay of the Last Minstrel, which came forth 

1 See the Diaries of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 474. 


at the beginning of 1805. His conversation on the 
subject is commemorated in a letter addressed some 
years afterwards to the author by William Dundas : ' I 
remember,' says Mr. Dundas, ' at Mr. Pitt's table, in 
1805, the Chancellor asked me about you and your then 
situation, and after I had answered him, Mr. Pitt ob- 
served : "He can't remain as he is;" and desired me 
" to look to it." He then repeated some lines from the 
Lay, describing the old harper's embarrassment when 
asked to play, and said, " This is a sort of thing which I 
might have expected in painting, but could never have 
fancied capable of being given in poetry." ' ' 

A person of political eminence amongst us, writing 
to me in January, 1861, has made a striking reflection 
on this subject. ' If Pitt neglected literary men, as 
Macaulay in his brilliant sketch accuses him of having 
done, Literature has amply revenged herself upon him ; 
for it is difficult to say whether his great glory has 
suffered most from his friends or his enemies by means 
of the press.' 

In my first Chapter I described the ready skill which 
Mr. Pitt in his youth had acquired of translating off- 
hand into English the best Greek and Latin authors. 
Let me now give an instance of it as derived from his 
maturer years. It was told Mr. Eogers by Mr. Eedhead 
Yorke, who was present, and Mr. Eogers has put it on 
record in his ' Eecollections.' One day in Pitt's com- 
pany some person quoted a sentence as follows from the 
Dialogue of Tacitus De Oratoribus : — 

Magna eloquentia sicut flamma luatei-ia alitur et motibus 
excitatur et urendo clarescit. 

Another of the party observed that it was untrans- 
latable ; upon which Mr. Pitt immediately replied, ' No ; 
I should translate it thus : — 

1 See the letter to Walter Scott, inserted in Lockhart's Life, vol. 
i. p. 225. 


It is with eloquence as with a flame. It requires fuel to 
feed it, motion to excite it, and it brightens as it burns. 1 

Of the style of Pitt in his speeches I have little to 
say beyond the details and the descriptions which I have 
already given in several passages of this work. I will 
only add that, according to the unanimous assurance of 
those who knew him well, he did not prepare the struc- 
ture or the wording of his sentences, far less write them 
down beforehand. The statement of his friends upon 
this point is much confirmed by his own notes, as 
scattered among his papers. These notes, which are in 
his own handwriting, are all extremely brief; at most 
some figures for his finance, and some headings for his 
argument. Let me add, as instances, his only written 
preparation for two of the most renowned among his 
many great harangues. 

Notes of Speech {Dec. 30, 1796). 

(First half of the -MS.) 

1. Previous negotiations. 

Emperor's note. 

2. Lord M.'s negotiation. 


Some necessary and agree- 
able to usage — just and 
reasonable — (in principle) 
acknowledged (tho 
contested, and have denied 
to be just) — (Intervening 
demand of Ultimatum). 

3. Statement of terms (separate 

as to France and Allies). 
(Other acquisitions of France — Under what circumstances 

Savoy — Nice— State of Sardi- (Italy- Kmp r -). 


1 Tacit, de Orat. c. 36 ; and Rogers's Recollections, p. 178. The 
editor of these Recollections has transferred the authorship of the 
passage from Tacitus to Cicero ; an error that would have greatly 
shocked Mr. Rogers himself. 

lsi if, 



(State of belligerent powers). 

Netherlands — Extract from de- 
bate on Reunion — Barrier 

Wars for two centuries. 

[Former Basis. 

Use of personal discussion — De- 
mand of Plenipotentiaries — 
Offers of explanation. 

1. No such separate law can be 

binding on other nations — 
Vattel — Mr. Fox — reason. 

2. Not to be found in constitu- 

tion (Sense not public — how 

3. If there does not apply to Bel- 

gium or given up as to colo- 
nies — ■ 

4. It applies as well to Ireland. 

5. Not beloved by this — Primary 

Ass' - — ab ineonvenienti. 
Article 1st. Indivisible. 

By what con- 
to be influ- 

On what prin- 
What offered, 
What asked, 
and for 

f Treaty— Ge- 
neral ba- 
lance — 

Cession from 
us no ac- 

3. Openings for modification — 
Do. Spain. 

2. Conduct of France. 

Demand for signing Ulti- 
Sending away. 

3. What the basis and offer now 
Argument on French consti- 
tution and laws. 

Treaties (Nebuchadnezar). 
This as preliminary — state- 
ment of other points. 
Holland left open. 

New acquisitions. 

Notes of Speech {May 23, 1803). 
Acts since the Preliminaries. 







Since definitive Treaty. 

Black Sea. 



Cases which may arise. 

Encroachments on Austria or 
other parts of Continent. 

On powers guaranteed by us . . 

On Maritime Interests , 

On objects immediately British 


Spain or S. America. 

Portugal or Brazil. 

Holland or its Colonies. 

Egypt or Maritime Possessions 
of Turkey. 

N. America. 

Shutting Ports of Europe. 

Sending forces to India, or ad- 
vancing claims there. 


French emigrants. 

General state of Naval and Mili- 
tary preparation. 
Finance system. 
System of Foreign connection. 

The action of Pitt in public speaking was not such 
as might perhaps be guessed from his ever self-possessed 
and stately style. It was very vehement. So it was 
described to me by Lord Lyndhurst, who had often heard 
him. He would sometimes bend forward eagerly, and 
so far that his figure almost touched the table. This 
account well agrees with the statement of Francis 
Horner, who in 1796 — then a very young, but even then 
a very intelligent eye-witness — used to attend the gallery 
of the House of Commons. Of the great Parliamentary 
rivals he observes : ' The one (Mr. Fox) saws the air 
with his hands, and the other (Mr. Pitt) with his whole 
body.' l 


1 Letter to Mr. J. A. Murray, Feb. 15, 17W. Memoirs, vol. i. p. 


As Minister of the Finances, Mr. Pitt has been since 
assailed by divers accusations. He has been called 
improvident and unwise in the system of his Loans at 
the period of the war. But I do not think this charge 
very likely to be made again by any man of much 
weight after that very searching and convincing Essay 
published in 1855 by Mr. Newmarch, to which in a 
former passage I referred. 1 Mr. Newmarch, going 
through the Loans one by one, and contrasting the par- 
ticulars of each with the market prices of Stocks, Long 
Annuities, and Scrip from January, 1791, to December, 
1800, has shown that these difficult operations were 
conducted with high financial skill, and on the most 
favourable terms that the financial state of the country 
would allow. By a table of our Subsidies to Foreign 
Powers between the outbreak of war in 1793 and the 
Peace of Amiens in 1801, amounting in that period to 
upwards of fifteen millions sterling, and by another table 
of the prices and importations of corn between 1791 and 
1803, with the amount of bounties for corn imported in 
consequence of deficient harvests (those bounties in the 
one year 1801 being little short of a million and a half), 
he has most clearly laid before us the further difficulties 
with which England had at that time to contend, and 
the impossibility, notwithstanding the immense increase 
of the taxation, of raising to the full extent the supplies 
within the year. 

Besides, under Pitt's system there accrued a most im- 
portant advantage, which could not have been expected 
under the system urged by certain of his adversaries — 
a large augmentation of yearly taxes in the lieu of loans. 
Under his system, our commerce in the midst of war not 
only maintained itself, but grew and extended. This is 
most clearly shown in the series of thiity-one Finance 
Resolutions which, in July, 1799, Mr. Pitt proposed, 

1 See vol.ii. p. 162. With the calculations of Mr. Newmarch in 
that Essay may be compared those of Mr. Gladstone in his speech 
of May 8, 1854. 



and the House of Commons voted. It appears that the 
total value of all imports into Great Britain was, in the 
year ending January 5, 1784, 13,122,000?.; in 1793, 
19-,659,000?.; and in 1799, 25,654,000?. Taking the 
same periods, the total value of British manufactures 
exported from Great Britain was, in 1784, 10,409,000?.; 
in 1793, 18,336,000?. ; and in 1799, 19,771,000?. And 
the total value of foreign merchandise exported from 
Great Britain was, in 1784, 4,332,000?. ; in 1793, 
6,568,000?; and in 1799, 14,028,000?. 

It is also worthy of note that the system of more 
accurate account and strict economy in the details of 
the revenue, as established by Mr. Pitt in 1784, was 
never for a moment, even in the midst of a most costly 
war, relaxed or relinquished by him. This is a point 
on which just stress is laid in the valuable pamphlet on 
the National Finances, which was published in 1799 by 
Mr. Rose, then joint Secretary of the Treasury. ' In 
attributing merit,' he says, ' to the adoption of such 
measures, we must not lose sight of the firm adher- 
ence to them under circumstances of the greatest 
difficulty.' • 

This general view will be found to be more and more 
confirmed the further we go into details. Take, for 
instance, the department of Excise. So successful had 
been Pitt's administration of it, that in 1799 there were 
747 fewer officers for the management of a revenue of 
twelve millions than in 1784 for a revenue of six 
millions. And in 1799, when the gross revenue stood 
at nearly twenty-two millions, the expenses of collection 
were only 3000/. more than in 1784, when the revenue 
was little more than fourteen millions. 

In the Customs it is stated on authority in 1799, that 
since 1784 eighty-five offices had been abolished — all 
these absolute sinecures, in value from under 100?. to 
2000?. ; and all these, I need not add, pieces of most 

1 Brief Examination, $c, by George Rose, Esq., 1799. See 
especially pp. 22, 50, and 54. 


serviceable patronage in the bands of any Govern- 

Till the time of Pitt the Army Contracts had been 
a fruitful source of jobbing under every Ministry ; above 
all, since the contracts were bestowed by private grant, 
and since the contractors were frequently Members of 
Parliament. In this case as in the case of loans, Mr. 
Pitt put a total stop to all danger of abuses by the simple 
expedient of free competition and sealed tenders. 

At the Admiralty there was another change of no 
less importance. Ever since the reign of Charles the 
Second (prior to which there are no books extant), the 
payments for naval victualling and stores were made in 
bills payable at uncertain periods. Thus they were 
taken at a discount, which discount increased very con- 
siderably at ever}^ period of war. During the last five 
years of the American contest it had varied from eleven 
and a half to sixteen and three-quarters per cent. Still 
no remedy was applied to this enormous evil, until by a 
new regulation, which Pitt not only prepared, but em- 
bodied in an Act of Parliament. According to this new 
law, the Admiralty was required to make all its pay- 
ments in bills drawn at ninety days, and these bills 
being always discharged with rigid punctuality came to 
be considered and accepted as so much ready money. 
Hence arose a saving to the public to the full extent of 
the discount formerly allowed. 

With facts such as these before us we have surely 
good ground to assert that the expenditure of England 
with Pitt at the head of the finances, though large 
beyond all precedent in time of war, was at no time 
lavish. And that it was so large can scarcely call for 
any long vindication. I know not how further to argue 
against the man who does not think, or at least who will 
not own, that the most energetic measures at whatever 
cost were requisite while we were contending with such a 
nation as the French ; above all, while they were either 
stirred to a feverish force by their first Revolutionary 

F. R 2 


period, or else directed with consummate skill by the 
genius of Napoleon. 

But it is urged that Mr. Pitt as Prime Minister 
might have refrained from entering into this formidable 
contest. It is no longer denied that up to the winter 
of 1792 he was most sincerely desirous of peace. Why, 
then, it is asked, did he at that period change his course ? 
I answer, because the French had first changed theirs. 
By their hostile measures against Holland, by their 
declared design to force the navigation of the rivers 
Scheldt and Meuse, they were assailing vested rights 
which we had bound ourselves by treaty to defend. By 
their famous decree of the 19th of November, they had 
called to insurrection the subjects of the neighbouring 
states, England of course included ; and they had pro- 
mised their full aid to those that would rebel. Had we 
overlooked the former, we should have been treacherous 
to our old allies ; had we patiently borne the latter, we 
should have been untrue to ourselves. 

It is urged, however, that even admitting the war to 
be rightfully declared, the conduct of it with Mr. Pitt 
as Prime Minister was not prosperous. Yet surely his 
friends are entitled to allege at all events two consider- 
able exceptions to this charge. They may claim that 
under his administration there were the most splendid 
naval victories, and also, unless perhaps in his father's 
time, the most important colonial conquests, that our 
annals anywhere record. So large are these exceptions, 
that if acknowledged, they may amount to an entire dis- 
proof of the charge when made in such general terms. 

But let us consider this charge as narrowed to the 
point of the three expeditions on the Continent of 
Europe: — to Belgium in 1793; to Brittany in 1795; 
and to Holland in 1799. With regard to the second of 
these, it must, I think, be owned that our Government 
had nothing further to do than to provide the requisite 
means. Any admixture of British troops, or any autho- 
rity of a British commander, would have destroyed every 


prospect of a Koyalist rising on the coast of France. 
The expedition was therefore, as of course, left to the 
direction of the Emigrant chiefs themselves, whose dis- 
cordant counsels and whose hesitating movements, as I 
have detailed them in my narrative, will most fully 
account for the failure which ensued. 

In respect to the Belgium and the Holland campaigns, 
it is no more than just to remember that throughout 
the first we were disappointed in the friends of the 
French Princes, as throughout the last in the friends of 
the Dutch Stadtholder. Above all, we should bear in 
mind, as applying to both, the earnest desire — nay, de- 
termination — of George the Third to appoint the Duke 
of York to the chief command. Now the Duke, although 
he afterwards proved himself an excellent administrator 
of the army, probably lacked skill, and certainly lacked 
experience, for operations in the field. He had to con- 
tend against such chiefs as Hoche and Brune. He had 
to contend against new levies, it is true, but very nu- 
merous, full of courage, and fired with their first Kevolu- 
tionary zeal. If, competing with such men, the English 
General failed, it may be asked of the same period 
whether the Austrian had any better fortune? Had 
the Prussian or the Dutch, the Sardinian or the Spanish ? 
The result is therefore to be explained by other causes, 
and not at all by any fault or failure in the Prime 
Minister of England. It was certainly the opinion of 
several persons who at divers times conferred or corre- 
sponded with him upon this subject, and who were well 
qualified to form a judgment upon it, that Mr. Pitt dis- 
played as much sagacity in planning military operations 
as he had ever done in civil or political affairs. 

Such then as to his private qualities, and such also 
as to his public career, was Mr. Pitt. In drawing a con- 
clusion from the facts and arguments which I have now 
— fully I am sure, and fairly as I hope — laid before my 
readers, thus enabling them to judge for themselves of 


this mighty Minister, I readily acknowledge that my 
own view may be liable to question. Born as I was in 
his house ; bred as I have been in a grateful attachment 
to his memory ; seeking as I have ever sought, though 
on some points perhaps mistakenly, to maintain his 
principles, I could not cast from my mind a warm and 
earnest feeling for his fame. I could not if I would, 
and I would not if I could. Perhaps then I may claim 
too much for him. I may be in error when I venture 
to pronounce him the greatest of all the statesmen that 
his country has produced. 

In my view, at all events, whether that view be over- 
strained or no more than just, the very faults of Mr. Pitt 
were such as many other men might claim for virtues. 
If he had pride, it was only, as Burke so finely said of 
Keppel, ' a wild stock of pride on which the tenderest 
of all hearts had grafted the milder virtues.' If he had 
ambition, it was only to serve his country, and not for 
any meaner aim. Disdaining for himself as perhaps no 
statesman had before both wealth and dignities, such as 
meaner minds are always craving — refusing not merely 
the Peerage which would have removed him from his 
proper sphere, but the Garter which he might, like Sir 
Robert Walpole, have worn in the House of Commons — 
he maintained throughout the rare combination of a 
most slender patrimony with eminent disinterestedness. 
' Dispensing for near twenty years the favours of the 
Crown, he lived without ostentation and he died poor:' 
such is part of the inscription which the most eloquent 
and gifted of his pupils inscribed beneath his statue in 
Guildhall. His eloquence stands recorded by the most 
authentic testimony, and was tried by the most able com- 
petition. Combining within it almost every kind of 
merit, it could charm and delight and frequently amuse, 
while yet it awed his hearers. In his financial system, he 
was the first to unloose the shackles upon trade ; and he 
gave his country in time of peace those resources which 
alone could nerve her arm in time of war. An assertor 

1806 CONCLUSION. 423 

of religious liberty, and of equal rights to every de- 
nomination of Christians, he was respectful to the faith 
of others, steadfast and well-grounded in his own. In 
the most vehement attacks upon himself from an in- 
furiated majority of the House of Commons, as in the 
gravest perils by which his country was assailed, the 
firmness of his mind was never even shaken, far less ever 
subdued. On the whole, then — 

Glorious was his course, 
And long the track of light he left behind him. 

May that course be followed — may that track of light be 
trod in, by many, very many, statesmen of the coming 
time ! Some only can partake of its glory, but all may 
be guided by its ray. 




[There are no drafts among Mr. Pitt's MSS. of his letters to 
the King dated April 21 and May 6, nor yet of his letter 
to the Lord Chancellor for His Majesty's perusal dated 
May 2, 1804. 

Copies of these important papers are, however, happily pre- 
served, and have been most kindly communicated to me 
by William Dacres Adams, Esq., who was then Private 
Secretary to Mr. Pitt. S.] 

Mr. Pitt to the Kfoig. 1 

Endorsement on the Copy. 

(Transmitted through the Lord Chancellor on Sunday, 22nd April, and 
delivered by him to the King on Friday, 27th.) 

York Place, April 21, 1804. 
Sir, — It is with great reluctance that I presume to 
trespass on your Majesty's attention; but, as the view I 
entertain of public affairs will shortly render it my indis- 
pensable duty in Parliament to declare more fully and 

1 The reader will not fail to observe in these letters, as estab- 
lished form required, the change of address from the first person to 
the third, according as Mr. Pitt was, or was not, in the King's 


explicitly than I have done hitherto my opinions on the 
conduct of your Majesty's present Ministers, I cannot help 
feeling a most anxious wish previously to lay those opinions 
before your Majesty. 

Your Majesty will do me the justice to recollect that, on 
retiring from your Majesty's service, it was my first wish to 
be enabled to give every degree of support and assistance hi 
my power to those to whom your Majesty confided the 
administration of your affairs. I continued to give this 
support and assistance with the utmost zeal and cordiality 
as long as it was possible for me to do so consistently with 
my sincere and honest opinions on the state of public affairs; 
and even long after I saw considerable reason for highly 
disapproving many important parts of the conduct of 
Government, I still abstained from joining in any system of 
Parliamentary opposition. During the whole period since 
the commencement of the present war, although I have 
throughout seen but too much reason to lament the want of 
any vigorous and well-considered system on the part of 
Ministers adapted to the new and critical state of affairs, my 
gi'eat object has been, instead of seeking opportunities for 
censure, to contribute as far as I could, by the humble 
efforts of an individual, to supply what I have considered 
as important omissions, and to recommend more adequate 
measures for the defence of the country. The experience of 
now nearly twelve months, and the observation of all the 
different measures which have been suggested or adopted by 
Government, and of the mode in which they have been 
executed, have at length impressed me with a full conviction 
that while the administration remains in its present shape, 
and particularly under the direction of the person now hold- 
ing the chief place in it, every attempt to provide adequately 
and effectually for the public defence, and for meeting the 
extraordinary and unprecedented efforts of the enemy, will 
be fruitless. I am also fully convinced that the same causes 
which tend to weaken our security at home are equally 
calculated to preclude the chance of taking advantage of any 
favourable conjuncture to establish such a co-operation 
abroad as might rescue the Continent from the miserable 
and abject situation to which it is now reduced. With this 
impression, I consider the time has arrived when it is my 
indispensable duty, both to your Majesty and to the country, 


to avow these opinions, and to regulate by them my Parlia- 
mentary conduct. 

I am not so presumptuous as to allow myself to hope 
that the sentiments I have thus presumed to submit to your 
Majesty should appear entitled to attention, or deserving of 
any weight in your Majesty's mind; but I flatter myself 
that your Majesty will condescend to receive them as a 
tribute of duty and respect, and as the sincere and honest 
opinions of one who is actuated by the warmest and most 
genuine attachment to your Majesty. On the same grounds 
I trust your Majesty will pardon me if I venture to add the 
assurance that whatever may be the course of public .affairs, 
and whatever may be my own personal opinion respecting 
the system of government which would be most advisable in 
the present state of the country and of political parties, it 
will be my determination to avoid committing myself to any 
engagement the effects of which would be likely to occasion, 
in any contingency, a sentiment of dissatisfaction or uneasi- 
ness in your Majesty's mind. 

I am, &c, &c, W. Pitt. 

Mr. Pitt to the Lord Chancellor. 

(To be laid before the King.) 

York Place, May 2, 1804. 

My dear Lord, — In conformity to what passed between 
us yesterday, I now proceed to state to your Lordship on 
paper the sentiments which I am desirous of humbly sub- 
mitting for His Majesty's consideration. 

It becomes my indispensable duty to entreat His 
Majesty's permission to lay before him distinctly and 
without reserve the best opinion which I can form respect- 
ing the nature and description of administration which 
appeal's to me likely to be most conducive to His Majesty's 
service, together with the reasons for that opinion ; but in 
doing so, I am anxious at the same time humbly to repeat 
the assurance that I do not presume to request more from 
His Majesty than that he would condescend to give a full 
and deliberate consideration to the proposal which I feel it 
my duty to submit to him. If, after such consideration, 
and receiving such further explanation as the nature of the 
subject may require, His Majesty should feel insuperable 


objections to any part of the proposal, much as I must in 
that case regret His Majesty's decision, I shall feel myself 
bound to acquiesce in it; and if I should in that case be 
honoured with His Majesty's further commands to endeavour 
to form a plan of administration free from such objections, I 
shall be ready to obey them to the best of my power. 

My opinion is founded on the strong conviction that the 
present critical situation of this country, connected with that 
of Europe in general, and with the state of political parties 
at home, renders it more important and essential than 
perhaps at any other period that ever existed to endeavour 
to give the greatest possible strength and energy to His 
Majesty's Government, by endeavouring to unite in his 
service as large a proportion as possible of the weight of 
talents and connexions, drawn without exception from 
parties of all descriptions, and without reference to former 
differences and divisions. There seems the greatest reason 
to hope that the circumstances of the present moment are 
peculiarly favourable to such an union, and that it might 
now be possible (with His Majesty's gracious approbation) 
to bring all persons of leading influence either in Parlia- 
ment or in the country to concur heartily in a general 
system formed for the purpose of extricating this country 
from its present difficulties, and endeavouring, if possible, to 
rescue Europe from the state to which it is reduced. The 
consequences of the French Revolution, universally under- 
stood and acknowledged, its effects in France, and Europe, 
and the world, and the present conduct and character of the 
First Consul, seem to have produced a very general desire 
that all the abilities and resources of the country should be 
exerted in meeting its present danger; and in pursuit of 
this object, all the points of difference, however great and 
important, which at a former period prevailed in this 
country, seem, to all practical purpose, to be superseded. 

The various advantages which may be derived from such 
a comprehensive system as I have pointed at are so obvious 
that it will not be necessary long to dwell on them. It is, 
in the first place, evident that, zealous and united as the 
country appears to be at this moment in its efforts against 
the enemy, the present contest may probably be of very 
long duration, attended with great and heavy burdens, and 
likely to press severely on the resources and convenience of 


all classes of persons. Under such circumstances, with the 
chance, always unavoidable, of unfavourable events in the 
course of the war, or of an aggravation of its difficulties 
from the accidents of the seasons, it is impossible not to feel 
that a system of this nature would furnish a security that 
cannot otherwise be obtained for our being enabled to 
persevere in the struggle with unabated vigour till it can be 
really brought to a safe and honourable issue. The same 
considerations which apply to this country separately, will 
operate as powerfully, if not still more so, on our means and 
prospects abroad. A firm and stable administration, not 
thwarted or embarrassed by any powerful opposition either 
in Parliament or the comitry, must furnish the best and 
perhaps the only chance of attracting sufficiently the respect 
and confidence of Foreign Powers, and of improving any 
favourable opportunity to unite them once again in a great 
and combined effort for reducing the power of France within 
limits consistent with the safety of other states, or at least 
of rescuing from its yoke some of those countries in whose 
fate, both from inclination and policy, we ought to feel most 
deeply interested. 

In addition to these two great considerations, the state 
of Ireland, and the delicate and difficult questions which 
may arise respecting the internal condition of that country, 
are scarcely less deserving of attention. I need not repeat 
to your Lordship what has long since been known to His 
Majesty, how fully my own determination has been formed 
to prevent His Majesty being ever disquieted for a moment, 
as far as depends upon me, by a renewal of the proposition 
which was in question three years ago respecting the exten- 
sion of privileges to the Catholics ; but I cannot help seeing 
that, although my own conduct, under all circumstances, is 
fixed, there may arise moments of difficulty in which, if this 
country remains divided by powerful parties, the agitation 
of this question may be productive of great inconvenience 
and embarrassment. The formation of such a system as I 
have supposed would, I conceive, among other advantages, 
effectually remove this source of anxiety, as I certainly can 
never suppose or wish it to be fprmed on any other ground 
but that of all those who might form part of the Adminis- 
tration joining in the same determination with myself to 
endeavour to prevent the renewal of any such discussion. 


These are the chief considerations which have led me to 
the clear and conscientious conviction that nothing is so 
likely to ensure His Majesty's personal repose and comfort, 
and the future prosperity and glory of his reign, as the plan 
which I have thus taken the liberty of submitting to His 
Majesty's consideration; and I am therefore most deeply 
anxious that, after full reflection, His Majesty may deem it 
not unworthy of his approbation. In that event it would 
become my duty to entreat His Majesty's permission, before 
I entered further on any details, to converse both with Lord 
Grenville and with Mr. Fox, in order to learn how far it 
might be practicable to submit, for His Majesty's considera- 
tion, any arrangement which might include them, and a 
proportion of those who act with them, together with some 
of His Majesty's present servants, and other persons to whom 
I might wish to draw His Majesty's favourable attention. 

I have now only to request that your Lordship will have 
the goodness to take the first convenient opportunity of 
laying this representation of my sentiments before His 
Majesty, together with the humble assurances of my con- 
stant sentiments of respect, duty, and attachment towards 
His Majesty, and of my deep and grateful sense of His 
Majesty's condescension and goodness in the gracious com- 
munication which I had the honour of receiving through 
your Lordship. I have thought that this mode of sub- 
mitting my opinion in the first instance for His Majesty's 
consideration at his most convenient leisure, was that of 
which His Majesty would not disapprove. I trust I may be 
permitted to hope, before His Majesty's final decision on the 
subject, he will allow me to have the honour of personally 
submitting to His Majesty any further explanation which 
any part of the subject may appear to require ; and I cannot 
help also flattering myself that the whole tenor of what I 
have stated will appear consistent with that zeal and devo- 
tion for His Majesty's service which it has been my uniform 
wish that His Majesty should experience in every part of 
my conduct. I am, with great regard, etc., W. Pitt. 

Queen's Palace, May 5, 1804. 
The King has through the channel of the Lord Chancellor 
expressed to Mr. Pitt his approbation of that gentleman's 
sentiments of personal attachment io His Majesty, and his 


ardent desire to support any measure that may be conducive 
to the real interest of the King or of his Royal Family; 
but at the same time it cannot but be lamented that Mr. 
Pitt should have taken so rooted a dislike to a gentleman 
who has the greatest claim to approbation from his King 
and country for his most diligent and able discharge of the 
duties of Speaker of the House of Commons for twelve years; 
and of his still more handsomely coming forward (when Mr. 
Pitt and some of his colleagues resigned their employments) 
to support his King and country w T hen the most ill-digested 
and dangerous proposition was brought forward by the 
enemies of the Established Church. His Majesty has too 
good an opinion of Mr. Pitt to think he could have given 
his countenance to such a measure, had he weighed its 
tendency with that attention which a man of his judgment 
should call forth when the subject under consideration is of 
so serious a nature ; but the King knows how strongly the 
then two Secretaries of State who resigned at that period 
had allied themselves to the Roman Catholics : the former, 1 
by his private correspondence with a former Lord Lieutenant 
of Ireland, 2 showed that he was become the follower of all 
the wild ideas of Mr. Burke ; and the other, 3 from obstinacy, 
his usual director. 

The King can never forget the wound that was intended 
at the Palladium of our Church Establishment, the Test 
Act, and the indelicacy, not to call it worse, of wanting His 
Majesty to forego his solemn Coronation Oath. He there- 
fore here avows that he shall not be satisfied unless Mr. Pitt 
makes as strong assurances of his determination to support 
that wise law, as Mr. Pitt in so clear a manner stated in 
1796 in the House of Commons, viz., that the smallest 

1 Mr. Dundas. 

2 The reference seems here to be to Lord "Westmorland, and to 
the period of 1793 and 1794. Mr. Rose, in reporting his long con- 
versation with the King at Weymouth in September, 1804, says: 'I 
am persuaded His Majesty felt uncomfortably on the subject of the 
letters his Lordship (Melville) wrote to Lord Westmorland relative 
to the question of Catholic Emancipation while the latter was Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland — which letters His Majesty told me Lord 
Westmorland had shown to him, keeping them, with the others he 
had received on the same point, bound up in a volume.' {Diaries, 
vol. ii. p. 164.) 

3 Lord Grenville. 


alteration of that law would be a death wound to the British 

The whole tenor of Mr. Fox's conduct since he quitted 
his seat at the Board of Treasury, when under age, and more 
particularly at the Whig Club and other factious meetings, 
rendered his expulsion from the Privy Council indispensable, 
and obliges the King to express his astonishment that Mr. 
Pitt should one moment harbour the thought of bringing 
such a man before his Royal notice. To prevent the repeti- 
tion of it, the King declares that if Mr. Pitt persists in such 
an idea, or in proposing to consult Lord Grenville, His 
Majesty will have to deplore that he cannot avail himself of 
the ability of Mr. Pitt with necessary restrictions. These 
points being understood, His Majesty does not object to Mr. 
Pitt's forming such a plan for conducting the public business 
as may under all circumstances appear to be eligible ; but 
should Mr. Pitt, unfortunately, find himself unable to under- 
take what is here proposed, the King will in that case call 
for the assistance of such men as are truly attached to our 
happy Constitution, and not seekers of improvements which 
to all dispassionate men must appear to tend to the destruc- 
tion of that noble fabric which is the pride of all thinking 
minds, and the envy of all foreign nations. 

The King thinks it but just to his present servants to 
express his trust that as far as the public service will 
permit, he may have the benefit of their further services. 

George R. 

Mr. Pitt to the Khvj. 

York Place, Sunday, May 6, 1804. 
Sir, — I had yesterday the honour of receiving from the 
Lord Chancellor your Majesty's letter, and am very sensible 
of your Majesty's condescension and goodness in deigning to 
renew the assurances of your approbation of the sentiments 
of duty and attachment which it has been my wish to 
manifest towards your Majesty. At the same time I cannot 
refrain from expressing the deep conceim with which I 
observe the manner in which my sentiments appear in some 
respects to have been misunderstood, and the unfavourable 
impression which your Majesty seems to entertain respect- 
ing parts of my conduct. Your Majesty will, I trust, permit 
me in the first place to assure you that the opinions I have 


expressed respecting the person now holding the chief place 
in your Majesty's Government have not arisen from any 
sentiments of personal dislike to that gentleman ; they have 
been formed wholly on the view of his public conduct, and 
rest on grounds which I have already taken the liberty of 
laying distinctly before your Majesty. 

On the subject of the proposal made in 1801 respecting 
the Catholics, it has been far from my desire to renew any 
detailed discussion ; but I feel it due to two of my former 
colleagues to express my persuasion that they were guided 
on that important occasion by very different motives from 
those which your Majesty has been led to impute to them ; 
and in justice to myself I must beg leave to declare that my 
opinion on that subject was formed on the fullest delibera- 
tion, and that the measure then suggested appeared to me, 
for the reasons which I have submitted at large to youi 
Majesty, to be as much calculated to confirm the security of 
the Established Church as to promote the general interest 
of the Empire. My opinion of the propriety and rectitude 
of the measure at the time it was proposed remains un- 
altered ; but other considerations, and sentiments of defer- 
ence to your Majesty, have led me since to feel it both a 
personal and public duty to abstain from again pressing that 
measure on your Majesty's consideration. The humble 
assurance of this determination on my part has been long 
since conveyed to your Majesty, and recently renewed ; and 
to that assurance, without any addition or alteration, I must 
humbly beg leave to adhere. 

It now remains for me to express the extreme regret 
with which I learn your Majesty's strong disapprobation of 
the proposal which, on a view of the present state of affairs 
and of political parties, I thought it my duty to submit to 
your Majesty, for forming at the present difficult crisis a 
strong and comprehensive Government, uniting the principal 
weight and talents of public men of all descriptions. I have 
already stated that if, on full consideration, your Majesty 
should object to any part of that proposal, I am ready to 
acquiesce in that decision, and submit myself to your 
Majesty's commands ; but I, at the same time, expressed my 
hope that before your Majesty's final decision, I might be 
permitted to offer such farther explanation as the case may 
appear to require. On a point, therefore, of this high im- 



portance, I cannot but feel it an indispensable duty again to 
request that you would condescend personally to hear from 
me the explanation of those reasons which satisfy me that 
such a plan of Government is best calculated to promote the 
only objects which I have at heart on this occasion — the 
lasting ease and honour of your Majesty's Government, the 
security and prosperity of the country, and the general 
interest of Europe. Unless your Majesty should so far 
honour me with your confidence as to admit me into your 
presence for this purpose, I am grieved to say that I cannot 
retain any hope that my feeble services can be employed in 
any manner advantageous to your Majesty's affairs, or satis- 
factory to my own mind. I am, &c, W. Pitt. 

Mr. Pitt to the King. 

May 9, 1804.' 

Mr. Pitt humbly begs leave to acquaint your Majesty 
that he finds Lord Grenville and his friends decline forming 
a part of any arrangement in which Mr. Fox is not included. 
Mr. Pitt hopes to be enabled by to-morrow to submit for 
your Majesty's consideration the most material parts of such 
a plan of administration as, under these circumstances, he 
wishes humbly to propose. In the mean time there are one 
or two points on which he is anxious to receive your Majesty's 
commands in the course of to-day; and he will, therefore, avail 
himself of your Majesty's gracious permission by attending at 
the Queen's House at half-past three, unless your Majesty 
should be pleased to appoint some other time. 

May 9, 2 1804. 

The King has this instant received Mr. Pitt's note. He 
shall with great pleasure see Mr. Pitt at half-an-hour past 
three, which will enable him to prolong his airing. It is not 
without astonishment he sees by the Times that the Opposition 
Meeting was held at Carlton House. G. P. 

1 The King appears to have given Mr. Addington at the time 
a copy of this note. It has been published from that copy by Dean 
Pellew, but with the erroneous date of May 7. (Life of Lord 
Sidmouth, vol. ii. p. 287.) 

2 This letter of May 9 is the second addressed by the King to 
Mr. Pitt on the new administration ; and that of May 13 is the third. 


May 13, 1804. 

The King's nature makes him decisive and active when 
he thinks the public service or the honour of his friends call 
for exertion. He knows those sentiments are most congenial 
to the disposition and character of his friend, and now 
most pleasing Chancellor of the Exchequer. His Majesty 
therefore wishes Mr. Pitt would come here as soon as pos- 
sible, as he will promise not to detain him above a quarter 
of an hour, or at most half an hour. His Majesty is certain 
he can propose a Court arrangement that will save his honour 
as to Lord Hobart, whose conduct and attachment he cannot 
enough commend, and by that extricate Mr. Pitt from the 
difficulty of finding some provision for that Lord which has 
undoubtedly been promised to him. The King saw him late 
the last evening, full of duty and desirous to be told what line 
of conduct he ought to hold, but very humbly wishing to 
resign the Seals if that should not be thought inconvenient 
to the public service. Lord Hobart is not in the smallest 
degree apprised of the idea that has suggested itself to the 
King's mind, nor shall any one be apprised of it till His 
Majesty has seen Mr. Pitt. G. R. 

To the King. 

(From a ' Duplicate ' in Mr. Pitt's writing.) 

Wednesday, May 16, 1804. 

Sir — Having received the enclosed opinion from your 
Majesty's physicians, we feel it an indispensable duty humbly 
to transmit it to your Majesty, and to implore your Majesty 
to give it your most serious attention. We take this step 
from the full persuasion that on your Majesty's strict and 
uniform compliance with what is here recommended, must 
depend the perfect re-establishment and preservation of your 
Majesty's health, and with it every thing that is most im- 
portant to your Majesty's personal comfoi^t, and to the con- 
tinuance of the full and beneficial exercise of your Majesty's 
Royal authority for the happiness of your subjects. On 
these grounds we are sure your Majesty will pardon us if we 
express our most earnest and anxious hope that while your 
Majesty allots to the transaction of important business such 
time as may be requisite, your Majesty will not suffer your- 
self to be fatigued by a greater portion of it than is necessary; 

F F 2 


and will think it right carefully to avoid too frequent or pro- 
tracted audiences and conversations, and to conform in other 
respects to such proper management as may he thought indis- 
pensably necessary to perfect and confirm your Majesty's 
recovery, and to guard against the danger of any relapse ; the 
apprehension of which, if these precautions were neglected, 
would become the source of continual anxiety and distress. 

We are, 
With the utmost deference and submission, &c, 

W. Put. 1 

May 24, 1804. 

The King returns to Mr. Pitt the warrants, having signed 
them. He desires Mr. Pitt will appoint Mr. Canning to be 
here for presentation at half hour past three, as also any of the 
Lords of the Treasury and Admiralty that are in town : the 
King would be desirous of seeing Lord Melville for a short 
audience at the same time. 

The King sends one of the secret boxes which he has had 
new lettered to Mr. Pitt. If the two others be sent here, 
they shall be lettered in the same manner by the bookbinders 
at the King's Library. No one but the King and Mr. Pitt 
has keys to these boxes, therefore they may be safely used by 
them. G. R. 

June 12 1804. 

The King cannot refrain from expressing to Mr. Pitt 
that he thinks the increase of majority the last night highly 
advantageous to the cause of good government, and that the 
more he reflects on Mr. Pitt's proposition now framing 
into a Bill in the House of Commons, the more he sees the 
judiciousness of the measure. He cannot think the line of 
conduct held by Mr. Addington is either wise or dignified. 
That of Mr. Yorke is open to more indulgence, he having 
been the adviser of all the alterations made in the mode of 
defence from the time of Lord Pelham's retiring from tho 
service, and the not being a little wedded to his own opinion. 

G. R. 

1 Among the MSS. there appears no reply to this letter. 


June 16, 1804. 

The King has no doubt bnt that, from the idea of no 
division being intended to take place until Monday, it had 
too well operated on the willing minds of lazy men ; and 
perhaps a little more energy in the Secretaries of the Treasury 
might also have a salutary effect ; for yesterday no notes had 
been sent to summon the attendance of the friends of good 
government. His Majesty trusts to the goodness of his cause, 
his own resolution to support the present administration with 
all his might, and to the spirit, uprightness, and talents of 
Mr. Pitt : this combination scarcely can fail of success — at 
least it will deserve it. G. R 

Kew, June 20, 1804. 
The King has received with the fullest satisfaction Mr. 
Pitt's account of the Defence Bill having been read the third 
time after only a short debate, in which one is sorry to see 
Mr. Windham took a part ; but, though a man of a fine 
manly spirit, he seems by nature more inclined to oppose 
than to concur in any opinion that arises from others. His 
Majesty trusts that the activity shown by Mr. Pitt on this 
trying occasion will enable him to carry on the public busi- 
ness with more despatch and, at the same time, ease to him- 
self, than could at first have been expected. G. R. 

Kew, June 23, 1804, 7-52 A.M. 

The King intends being this morning at the Queen's 
Palace to receive his physicians. He will probably remain 
there for a couple of hours, and therefore wishes Mr. Pitt 
could call about twelve, as he is curious to learn some of the 
smaller colourings of conduct of Opposition, which cotild not 
well come within the compass of the note he has received 
from Mr. Pitt. G. R. 

P.S. — Since writing the above, the King has received 
Mr. Pitt's box with the favourable account of yesterday's 
proceedings in the House of Commons, which make him the 
more desirous of seeing Mr. Pitt this day. G. R. 

Windsor, Aug. 2, 1804. 

The King felt no fatigue from the ceremony of Tuesday, 
as he was conscious he was acting as he ought ; and the 
sentiments of the Speech were so thoi*oughly his own that 
they coidd not but invigorate him. 


Weymouth, August 26, 1804. 

The King, on the application of Mi-. Pitt, does not ob- 
ject to Lieut. -General Lake's being created a British Peer 
for the great successes in India ; nor does he do so with re- 
gard to Brigadier-General Welsley's l being honoured with 
an extra riband of the Order of the Bath, provided Major- 
General Moore, to whom our successes in Egypt are chiefly 
owing, and Commodore Samuel Hood, obtain the same 
honour, and be senior to Brigadier- General Welsley. 

As to Mr. Pitt's inquiries as to the King's health, it is 
perfectly good, and the quiet of the place and salubrity of 
the air must daily increase his strength. By the advice of 
Sir Francis Milman, who is here, the King will bathe in the 
tepid bath, in lieu of the going into the open sea. His 
Majesty feels this a sacrifice, but will religiously stick to this 
advice, but does not admire the reasoning, as it is grounded 
on sixty-six being too far advanced in life for that remedy 
proving efficacious. G. R. 

Cuffnells, Oct, 31, 1804. 

The King is much pleased at Mr. Pitt's being able to 
keep off the meeting of the Parliament unless some account 
from Spain should produce an earlier meeting than in Jan- 
uary. His Majesty is certain this addition to the Recess of 
Parliament must infinitely please the country gentlemen, and 
is no real delay to public business, as seldom more is done 
before Christmas than voting those supplies which the 
exigencies of the hour require. 

Mr. Pitt to the King. 

Putney Hill, Dec. 17, 1804. 

Mr. Pitt is anxious without delay humbly to acquaint 
your Majesty that, having been led by the approach of the 
Session of Parliament carefully to reconsider the state of 
political parties, and the degree of support on which Govern- 
ment can rely, he is impi'essed with a strong conviction that, 
although there is no reason to doubt of a sufficient majority to 
resist the attempts of Opposition, and to carry through the 
ordinary' business of Government, considerable embarrassment 
might arise with respect to the vigorous and decisive measures 

1 Thus in the Ms. 


which appear likely to be requisite for the advantageous 
prosecution of the war. He therefore considers it an object 
of great importance to secure, if possible, some material 
accession of strength before the opening of the Session ; and 
as he sees no mode of obtaining it which is, on the whole, 
likely to be so advantageous under the present circumstances, 
or so conformable to what he knows to be your Majesty's 
sentiments, as to endeavour to reunite the friends of Mr. 
Addington in the support of Government, he thinks that he 
should be wanting in what is due from him to your Majesty's 
service if he suffered any personal impression arising from 
past transactions to stand in the way of such an arrangement. 
Should your Majesty approve in general of this suggestion, 
Mr. Pitt will have the honour on Wednesday of submitting 
to your Majesty more particularly his ideas on the subject. 
In the mean time he takes the liberty of adding that he 
has had occasion to learn that Mr. Addington's feelings 
correspond very much with his own. 

Windsor, Dec. 18, 1804. 

The King cannot omit one moment after reading the 
note of Mr. Pitt to express his joy at seeing the very proper 
state of Mr. Pitt's mind in suggesting a willingness to call 
forth the assistance of Mr. Addington and his friends to the 
support of Government. His Majesty has, from the first 
hour of meeting Mr. Pitt the last spring to engage him again 
into public life, intimated a desire of being the restorer of two 
friends to that state of affection which would be most 
gratifying to his own feelings, as well as advantageous to the 
ease of carrying on the public business. 

The King cannot conclude without suggesting his long- 
formed and, he believes, just opinion, that a pension for life, 
for his most upright and diligent discharge of the duties of 
Speaker of the House of Commons, is the true reward Mr. 
Addington should obtain, which would please the House of 
Commons, who have ever applied for such a provision in the 
case of his predecessors on retiring, who had not half his 
merit ; and in the present instance it would flatter His 
Majesty's feeling, as the proposition cannot with propriety be 
brought forward but by a Message from the Crown, and the 
motion to be made on it stated by Mr. Pitt, of whose services 
to the public none has been more predominant than the 


proposing Mr. Addington, then a young man, for Speaker of 
the House of Commons. G. It. 

Windsor, Dec. 25, 1804. 

The King has received from LordHawkesbury the much- 
wished-for account of Mr. Pitt having seen Mr. Addington at 
Coombe Wood on Sunday, and that he is convinced their 
early habitudes of cordial affection are renewed. This gives 
the King the more satisfaction as he is fully sensible that 
their personal attachment to him and to this country are the 
true causes of this most gratifying work. His Majesty 
could not refrain from giving Mr. Pitt this written testimony 
of his approbation, and has done the same to Mr. Addington. 

G. E. 

Windsor, Jan 13, 1805. 

The King receives with great pleasure Mr. Pitt's account 
of the very good disposition in which he found the Duke of 
Portland, of which there cannot be a stronger testimonial 
than the letter His Majesty has got from him this morning. 
The King has availed himself of Mr. Pitt's hint, and has 
in this answer strongly pressed him to continue a member of 
the Cabinet. G. Pv. 

Jan. 16, 1805. 

The King is most happy to find the motion for the 
Address was moved and seconded with propriety. He does 
not think the speeches of Messrs. Fox and Windham can 
have been either necessary or have much weight with the 
House of Commons. 

Jan. 31, 1805. 

The King, on receiving Mr. Pitt's note, has directed Lord 
Hawkesbury to have the necessary instruments prepared for 
ti-anslating the Bishop of Norwich to the Ai-ehbishopric of 
Canterbury. The Bishopric of Norwich is worth 3200£. per 
annum, therefore may prove an agreeable transition to those 
of the less valuable sees. 

March 7, 1805. 

The King is highly satisfied at Mr. Sheridan's motion for 
repealing the Act of the last Session of Parliament for raising 
an additional force having met with the fate it deserved. 

It is lamentable that Mr. Windham should so thoroughly, 


from views of opposition, forget that war is the principle on 
he ought to pin his faith, and, consequently, if he had any 
idea of consistency, not join in reducing any means that can 
be proposed with a view to rendering the defence of the 
kingdom effectual. G. R. 

Windsor, April 9, 1805. 
The King, though much grieved at the cause, is not 
unmindful of the great propriety of Mr. Pitt in acquainting 
him instantly of the fate of the motion of censure on Lord 
Melville for having suffered Mr. Trotter to derive benefit 
from balances of the public money. His Majesty trusts that 
in Lord Melville there has been no culpability, though there 
has been a great want of caution ; and, in truth, the letter of 
exculpation he has lately published has not much mended 
the appearance. His Majesty would not act as ingenuously 
in return if he did not mention the names that at the moment 
occur to him as worthy consideration as heads of the Board 
of Admiralty — the Earl of Chatham, Lord Castlereagh, and 
Mr. Yorke ; and, if a professional man, Lord Gardner ; but 
the King means to be totally unbiassed to receive the name 
of any one of these, or any other person whom Mr. Pitt, on 
due consideration, may think best suited to support his 
administration. G. R. 

Windsor, April 10, 1805. 
The King has received this morning Lord Melville's 
resignation of his seat at the Board of Admiralty. He thinks 
it highly right that Mr. Pitt should take due time to con- 
sider who best can fill that essential situation ; for the person 
most prejudiced against Lord Melville, if he could view the 
whole of his exertions at the Board of Admiralty, must 
acknowledge that in this department he has most fully done 
his duty. The present Recess will give Mr. Pitt due time to 
examine and propose such arrangement as may be most con- 
d nci ve to the public service. G. R. 

Windsor, April 22, 1805. 

The King, from the moment of the unfortunate necessity 
of Lord Melville's resigning his seat at the Board of 
Admiralty, had no object but that Mr. Pitt should re- 
commend as successor the person best qualified to supply the 
vacancy. As Mr. Pitt, on the whole, thinks Sir Charles 


Middleton answers that description, His Majesty will not ob- 
ject to it, nor to his being advanced to the rank of a Baron, 
but his attending Cabinet Meetings ought to be confined to 
subjects regarding the navy. At the same time the King 
thinks that it would be advisable, on this addition to the 
Peerage, to advance also Mr. Lygon, the Member for the 
county of Worcester, whose excellent character, steady sup- 
port of Government, and veiy large fortune, place him in a 
situation without just competitors. G. R. 

Windsor, April 26, 1805. 

The King is most highly delighted with Mr. Pitt's account 
that the continuation of Mr. Whi thread's asperity was checked 
yesterday by a majority of 78 ; and, on a second division, a 
Committee chosen by ballot carried by a majority of 131. 
His Majesty looks upon tins issue of this event as solely 
owing to the temper and correct line of conduct held in the 
whole of this untoward business by Mr. Pitt. 

The King is sorry to see that the City of London so far 
outstrips its true line of duty as to be coming forward in this 
business, which no ways regards personally that body. He 
trusts Mr. Pitt will settle with Lord Hawkesbury the proper 
answer : it should be very general and temperate, and not 
one to encourage the repetition of becoming haranguers on 
subjects not properly coming under their cognizance. 
Wednesday will be the day for receiving this Address. G. R. 

Windsor, April 30, 1805. 

The King is much pleased with the issue of the debate of 
yesterday, as stated by Mr. Pitt, and doubts not that, with 
temper, the heat that has unfortunately been kindled in the 
House of Commons, by an incaution to be lamented, not 
defended, will soon subside. His Majesty cannot conclude 
without mentioning that till yesterday he had not the 
smallest idea that any uneasiness had subsisted in any part of 
the administration, and then he heard all was amicably ad- 
justed. He thinks it but justice to his own sentiments to 
declare that, had any disunion arisen, he should have de- 
cidedly taken part with Mr. Pitt, as he has every reason 
to be satisfied with his conduct from the hour of his return- 
ing to his service. 

The King will not be at Kew this day, but has appointed 


Lord Hawkesbury to-morrow morning at eleven at the 
Queen's Palace. G. R. 

Windsor, May 5, 1805. 

Though the King is much hurt at the virulence against 
Lord Melville, which is unbecoming the character of English- 
men, who naturally when a man is fallen are too noble to 
pursue their blows, he must feel the prudence and good 
temper of Mr. Pitt's proposing his being struck out of the 
Privy Council, and it is hoped after that the subject will be 
buried in oblivion. 

His Majesty authorizes Mr. Pitt not only to give the pro- 
posed notice this day to the House of Commons, but to give 
the proper notice that a Privy Council will be held at the 
Queen's Palace on Thursday, at two o'clock. G. P. 

Windsor, May 14, 1805. 

The King is not surprised, considering the enormous 
length to which gentlemen permit themselves to spin out their 
speeches, that it should have been necessary to adjourn the 
debate on the Catholic question from two this morning to the 
usual hour of meeting this day : it seems wonderfid that the 
fatigue does not incline gentlemen to compress their ideas in 
a shorter space, which must ever be more agreeable and use- 
ful to the auditors, and not less advantageous to the despatch 
of business. G. P. 

Kew, May 15, 1805. 

The King is most extremely rejoiced at the great majority 
with which Mr. Fox's motion for a committee on the Catholic 
petition has been rejected, and he trusts that such decided 
majorities in both Houses of Parliment so strongly show the 
sense of the kingdom on this most essential question, which 
His Majesty is confident if the opinions of the people without 
doors could be known would prove still a larger majority on 
this occasion, that he trusts it will never be brought forward 
again. G. P. 

June 12, 1805. 

The King has great satisfaction in having just learnt from 
Mr. Pitt the appearance of the House of Commons yesterday, 
on Mr. Whitbread's motion for impeaching Lord Melville, 
and on the amendment of Mr. Bond for a prosecution in lieu 


of it, both of which he thinks can most justly be resisted. 
No one more sincerely blames the incorrectness of Lord 
Melville's conduct, but no one can be more adverse to any 
further measures being taken against him. All that is 
necessary for example to futurity has been done, and any- 
thing more is a wanton punishing of a fallen man, which is 
not the usual conduct of an Englishman, who never strikes 
his enemy when at his feet. G. R. 

Weymouth, Sept. 15, 1805. 

The King perfectly coincides with Mr. Pitt as to the fit- 
ness of Mr. Long for the office of Secretary in Ireland, but 
strongly recommends to Mr. Pitt the being very careful to 
choose a man of business to supply his situation at the Board 
of Treasiu-y. His Majesty's sight will not allow him to 
add more, as though he gains some ground, he can neither 
read what is written to him nor what he writes. 1 G. R. 

Windsor, Nov. 11, 1805. 

The King cannot refrain from just expressing to Mr. Pitt 
the joy he feels at the good news now forwarded to him of 
the capture of four of the line-of-battle ships that had escaped 
on the 21st of last month. His Majesty has just received 
from Lord Hawkesbury an extract of Lord Nelson's Will 
concerning his funeral, which has enabled directions to be 
given for his being buried at St.Paul's with military honours, 
which the brilliancy of the victory seems to call for. G. R. 

Colonel Herbert Taylor to Lord Castlereagh. 

Windsor, Dec. 20, 1805. 

I have had the honour of laying before His Majesty the 
various papers which accompanied your Lordship's letter on 

1 A great change of handwriting appears in this letter and all 
those of subsequent date. It has grown much larger, and the cha- 
racters are very indistinct and ill-formed. This was owing to the 
failure of eyesight. When at Cuffnells in October, 'His Majesty,' 
Bays Mr. Rose, 'told me that he had nearly lost the sight of his right 
eye, and that it was with the greatest difficulty he could read a 
newspaper by candle-light with any spectacles he could get.' (Dia- 
ries, &c, vol. ii. p. 196.) Since November, 1805, the King found it 
necessary to employ Colonel Herbert Taylor as his Secretary and 

A nui nitrnsi.*. 


the subject of the late events in Moravia, 1 for the communi- 
cation of which I am commanded to return you many thanks. 
His Majesty considers them extremely interesting, and as 
all tending to confirm the reports transmitted yesterday of the 
successful result of the arduous contest of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 

1 The report, which proved utterly unfounded, of a great victory 
over the French near Austerlitz. 


[77ie Roman letters refer to the volume, the Arabic figures to the page.] 


ABBOT, Charles, a warm friend of 
Addington, ii. 405. Entries in 
his Diary, 423. Named Secretary 
for Ireland, iii. 3. Elected 
Speaker, 39. 
Aberckomby, Sir Ralph, recalled 
from Ireland, ii. 271. Lands on 
the Dutch coast, 330. His expe- 
dition to Egypt, iii. 15. 
Adair, Sir Robert, goes to Peters- 
burg, i. 412. 
Adams, William Dacres, his apt 
quotation, iii. 133. Appointed by 
Pitt his Private Secretary, 243. 
Addington, Dr., his prescription of 
port wine, i. 10. His interviews 
with Sir James Wright, 18. 
Addington, Henry, chosen Speaker, 
i. 347. His question to Pitt, ii. 56. 
His anxiety during Pitt's duel, 
27.9. Receives Pitt at Woodley, 
370. Becomes Prime Minister, 
394. His new appointments, 405. 
His character, iii. 1. Complained 
of by Pitt, 42. His first Budget, 
47. " His second, 85. Visited by 
Pitt, 90. Questioned by Lord 
Malmesbury, 107. His message 
to Walmer Castle, 109. Makes 
fresh overtures to Pitt, 112. Their 
meeting at Bromley, 118. Alien- 
ation between them, 121. His 
Budget on the renewal of the war, 
141. Determines to resign, 218. 
His parting interview with the 
King, 244. Reconciled with Pitt, 
278. Becomes President of the 
Council and a Peer, 288. See 
Albany, Countess, applies for a 
pension, i. 463. 


Alvanley, Lord (see Arden), his 
death, iii. 197. 

Anti-Jacobin, account of the, ii. 

Arden, Richard Pepper, an early 
friend of Pitt, i. 41. Moves his 
writ for Appleby, 123. Named 
Solicitor - General, 131. And 
Master of the Rolls, 300. And 
a Peer, iii. 4. See Alvanley. 

Arnold, General, his duel with 
Lord Lauderdale, i. 444. 

Auckland, Lord (see W. Eden), 
his letters from the Hague, i. 369. 
And from Beckenham, ii. 177. 
Describes Pitt's state of health, 
285. His political views, 387. 
The King's opinion of him, 406. 
His aspersion on Pitt, iii. 6. In- 
crease of his pensions, 273. 

BANKES, Henrj-, an early friend 
of Pitt, i. 41, 102. His state- 
ment on Pitt's behalf, 126. 

Barham, Lord (see Middleton"), 
his interview with Nelson, iii. 350. 

Barras, Paul, the chief of the 
French Directory, ii. 222. His 
venality, 224. 

Barre, Colonel, his character, i. 40. 
Case of his pension, 141. His 
death, iii. 54. 

Bath, Marquis of, his reception of 
Pitt at Longleat, iii. 84. 

Bathurst, Lord, visited by Pitt, 
iii. 84. His hint upon the Post 
Office, 206. Accepts office, 242. 

Bedford, Duke of, presses for peace, 
ii. 89. His character, 135. Pre- 
sides at the Whig Club, 140. His 




patriotic subscription, 164. His 
early death, iii. 43. 

Belgrave, Lord, his motion in 
praise of Pitt, iii. 48. 

Bbbesford, John, consulted by 
Pitt, i. 210. Dismissed bv Lord 
Fitzwilliam, ii. 92. His duel, 99. 
In correspondence with Lord 
Auckland, 177. Agrees to sup- 
port the Union, 309. 

Boi.ingbroke, Lord, Pitt's opinion 
of his writings, i. 14. 

Bonaparte, General, his command 
at Toulon, ii. 19. And at Paris, 
132. His Italian campaigns, 154. 
Signs a peace at Leoben, 186. 
Conquers Egypt, 286. Invades 
Syria, 328. Returns to France, 

335. Proclaimed First Consul, 

336. His overtures for peace, 339. 
His victory of Marengo, 364. 
Converses with Fox, iii. 55. His 
system of aggrandisement, 63. 
His interviews with Lord Whit- 
worth, 104-108. Rejects the Bri- 
tish ultimatum, 126. Plans the 
invasion of England, 153. His 
charges against Messrs. Drake and 
Spencer Smith, 247. Proclaimed 
Emperor, 248. See Napoleon. 

Bourne, W. Sturges, named Secre- 
tarv of the Treasurv, iii. 242. His 
reports of Pitt's health, 384. 

Braxfield, Lord, his discreditable 
Charge, ii. 24. 

Bridgewater, Duke of, his patrio- 
tic subscription, ii. 163. 

Bridport, Lord, commands the 
Channel Fleet, ii. 195. Quells its 
Mutiny, 198. 

Bristol, Earl f, his course in Ire- 
land, i. 206, 208. 

Bristol, Bishop of, his application 
to Pitt, iii. 291. 

Brothers, the Prophet, account of, 
ii. 103. 

Brunswick, D u ke of, his imprudent 
Manifesto, i. 448. Retreats from 
Champagne, 452. 

Buckingham, Marquis of (see 
Temple), named Lord Lieutenant 
of Ireland, i. 278. His reply to 
the Irish Parliament, 342. Claims 
a Dukedom, 351. Retires into 
private life, 353. 

Burdett, Sir Francis, his first ap- 

pearance in Parliament, ii. 208. 
Inveighs ag-ainst Pitt, iii. 47. His 
advice to Ministers, 145. 

Burke, Edmund, Pitt's criticism on 
one of his speeches, i. 30. His 
criticism on one of Pitt's, 45, 60. 
Assails Lord Shelburne, 71. His 
great speech on the India Bill, 
112. An adversary of Warren 
Hastings, 235. His violence on 
the Regency question, 324, 330. 
Composes a letter for the Prince, 
333. His intemperate sallies, 
337. Vote of censure on one of 
his speeches, 345. His differences 
with Fox, 356. His Essay on the 
French Revolution, 371. Taunts 
Erskine, 384. His estrangement 
from Fox, 393. Retires from Par- 
liament, ii. 48. His pension, 49. 
His thanks to Pitt, 108. Assailed 
by two Peers, 143. His l Letters 
on a Regicide Peace,' 150. His 
death, 216. 

Burke, Richard, Secretary to the 
Roman Catholic Committee, i. 
398. His death, ii. 48. 

Burns, Robert, admiration of Pitt 
for his lyrics, i. 198. His pension, 
iii. 412. 

pALONNE, M. de, sees Pitt at 

V Wimbledon, i. 275. Minister of 
the Emigrant Princes, 424. 

Camden, Lord, his position in 1781, 
i. 40. Refuses office, 130. Be- 
comes Lord President, 186. And 
an Earl, 244. Moves the Second 
Reading of the Libel Bill, 435. 
His death, ii. 47. 

Camden, John Jeffries, second Earl, 
as Mr. Pratt an earlv friend of 
Pitt, i. 40, 131. Named Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland, ii. 98. His 
despatches, 182. And Proclama- 
tions, 259. Returns to England, 
271. Receives Pitt at Wilderness, 
iii. 91, 124. Averse to Adding- 
ton's junction, 281. Offers his 
house to Pitt, 383. 

Camelford, Thomas, first Lord (see 
T. Pitt), his last letter to Pitt, i. 
462. Dies at Florence, 463. 

Camelford, Thomas, second Lord, 
joins the Opposition, ii. 343. 




Alone to vote with Stanhope, 348. 
Killed in a duel, iii. 197. 

CANNING, George, appointed Under 
Secretary of State, ii. 172. Founds 
the Anti-Jacobin, 242. His elo- 
quent speeches, 343. Resigns, 404. 
In communication with Lord 
Malmesbury, 418. His character, 
424. Writes 'The Pilot that 
Weathered the Storm,' iii. 50. Pro- 
jects Pitt's return to office, 71. 
Answers Sheridan, 81. Supports 
Colonel Patten's motion, 136. His 
satirical poetry, 139. His views 
as to office, 243. Condemns the 
last administration, 257. Desires 
to resign, 284. Defends Lord 
Melville. 277. Designed for the 
Cabinet, 369. His poem on Tra- 
falgar, 371. His last letters to 
Pitt, 378, 384. His inscription on 
Pitt's statue, 422. 

Carmarthen, Marquis of, his cha- 
racter in office, i. 247. His view 
of Dutch affairs, 270. His remi- 
niscences of office, 319. Becomes 
Duke of Leeds, 359. See Leeds. 

Caroline of Brunswick, her mar- 
riage with the Prince of Wales, ii. 
104. Deserted by him, 145. Pitt 
her earliest defender, iii. 272. 

Carrington, Lord (see R. Smith), 
calumny against him repelled, ii. 
241. Named Captain of Deal 
Castle, iii. 101. Receives Pitt at 
Wycombe, 121. Expects him 
there again, 368. 

Cartwright, Major John, a keen 
Reformer, i. 441. 

Castlereagh, Lord, his first speech, 
ii. 135. Appointed Irish Secre- 
tary, ii. 272. His temper and 
jud'gment, 292, 294. Moves the 
Act of Union, 318, 352. His let- 
ter to Pitt, 386. His resignation 
of office, 393. Named President 
of the Board of Control, iii. 53. 
Consults Pitt at Bath, 88. His 
coldness complained of, 140. His 
correspondence with Pitt, 161. 
167. And with Lord Welleslev, 
235. Named Secretary of State 
for War, 340. Confers" with Pitt, 
358. Pitt's last letter to him, 379. 

Catamarans, the, their failure, iii. 
263, 264. 

VOL. III. a 


Catherine II., her warfare with 
Turkey, i. 399. Threatens Eng- 
land, 407. Welcomes Mr. Adair, 
413. Her death, ii. 175. 

Cavendish, Lord John, named 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, i. 
55. Resigns, 62. Loses his elec- 
tion, 163. 

Charlotte, Princess, her birth, ii. 

Chatham, William, first Earl of, 
his care of his son's education, 
i. 5, 6, 8. His death, 17. His 
opinions on 'oligarchical party, 
64. And on the Russian alliance, 

Chatham, Hester, Countess of, her 
account of her son William, i. 3. 
Arrears in her pension, 27. Urn 
raised by her to her husband's 
memory, 31. At Hayes, 54. At 
Burton Pysent, 100. Embarrass- 
ment of her affairs, 182, 222. Re- 
ceives a visit from Wilberforce, 
416. Compares her son and her 
husband, 417. Letter from her to 
Pitt, ii. 324. Her death and cha- 
racter, iii. 117. 

Chatham, John, second Earl of, a 
lieutenant in the army, i. 4. 
Takes his seat in the Lords, 24. 
His courtship, 64, 96. And mar- 
riage, 99. Appointed First Lord 
of the Admiralty, 299. Trans- 
ferred to the Privy Seal, ii. 72. 
Becomes Lord President, 158. 
His vote upon the Slave Trade, 
322. Serves in Holland, 332. 
Consults his brother, iii. 96, 112. 
His visits at Walmer, 164. And 
at Putney, 386, 388. Chief 
Mourner at the public funeral, 

Chevaucher, discussion on the word, 
iii. 170. 

Clare, Earl of, his energetic cha- 
racter, ii. 258. His eloquent 
speeches, 262. Desires a measure 
of amnesty, 292, 294. Against 
the Roman Catholic claims, 302. 
His great speech in favour of the 
Union, :->.">.">. 

Clabkson, Thomas, urges the abo- 
lition of the Slave Trade, i. 291, 

Colllngwood, Admiral, at the 





battle of St. Vincent, ii, 184. And 
at Trafalgar, iii. 860. 

Conway, General, inveighs against 
Pitt, i. 138. Loses his election, 

Cornwallis. Earl, afterwards Mar- 
quis, goes to India, i. 242. His 
warfare against Tippoo, 388. De- 
clines a political office, 415. Goes 
to Brussels, ii. 58. Receives a 
Marqnisate, 90. Named Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland, 272. His 
policy, 2H2, 294, 302, 386. Re- 
signs, 393. His inconsiderate 
letter, 403. Sent to Amiens, iii. 
30. Signs the Treaty of Peace, 
45. Goes again to India, 273. 

Corky, Isaac, Chancellor of the 
Exchequer in Ireland, ii. 352. 
His duel with G rattan, 354. 

CouBTENAT, T. P., his pamphlet, 
iii. 165. 

Cbbwe, Mrs., her remark on Pitt's 
administration, i. 132. 

Curkan, John Philpot, hiseloquence 
at the bar, ii. 32. 

DAER, Lord, his character and 
fortunes, ii. 26. 
Dent, John, his dog-tax, ii. 147. 
Despakd, Colonel, account of his 

conspiracy, iii. 65. 
Devonshire, Georgiana, Duchess 
of, her canvass of Westminster, i. 

Dorset, Duke of, ambassador at 
Paris, i. 228. His froward con- 
duct at Cambridge, 446. 

Dumoukiez, General, commands in 
Champagne, i. 452. His victory 
at Jemmapes, 454. His secession, 
ii. 10. 

Duncan, Admiral, mutiny in his 
fleet, ii. 205. His victory at Cam- 
perdown, 231. A jovial compa- 
nion, 235. 

Dundas, Henry, the early adversary 
of Pitt, i. 47, 52. Rise of the 
friendship between them, 82, 85, 
88. His Bill on the forfeited Es- 
tates, 178. Chief of the India 
Board, 179. His speech on the 
Kohilla charge, 238. His early 
life and character, 246. Appointed 
Secretary of State, 414. Letters 


to him from the King, 445. And 
from Pitt, 158. Desires to resign, 
ii. 54. His conversation with the 
King, 317. His account of the 
Cabinet, 367. His view of Ad- 
dington's Government, 397. 
Created a Peer, iii. 86. See Mel- 
Dunning, John, his eminence at 
the Bar, i. 40. Created Lord Ash- 
burton, 55. 

EDEN, William, supports the Coa- 
lition of Fox and North, i. 75. 
His views of American trade, 87. 
Joins Pitt's party, 228. Nego- 
tiates a treaty with France, 250. 
Created Lord Auckland, 348. See 

Eden, Hon. Eleanor, Pitt's attach- 
ment to, ii. 176. Her marriage, 

Eldon, Lord (see J. Scott), his 
view of the Coronation oath, ii. 
384. Becomes Chancellor, 406. 
Avows his attachment to Pitt, 
426. Their dinner tete-a-tete, iii. 
196. Further communications 
between them, 212, 214, 218, 223, 
229. His reminiscences, 366. 

Elgin, Earl of, account of his con- 
ference with Pitt, iii. 406. 

Eliot, Hon. Edward, an early 
friend of Pitt, i. 41, 92, 93. Goes 
with him to France, 102. Marries 
his sister, 221. A widower, 249. 
His long-continued grief, 250, 254. 
Retires from the Treasury, ii. 28. 
His death, 225. 

Eliot, Hon. John, opposes Tierney, 
ii. 348. 

Elliot, Sir Gilbert, proposed for 
Speaker, i. 335. Named Viceroy 
of Corsica, ii. 44. His impolitic 
conduct, 153. Created a Peer, 
239. See Minto. 

Elliot, Hugh, his negotiations at 
Paris, i. 364. And at Gothenburg, 

Em.mett, Robert, his conspiracy in 
Ireland, iii. 149. Tried and exe- 
cuted, 152. 

Erskine, Thomas, afterwards Lord, 
his first speech in Parliament, i. 
114. Speaks again, 120. Loses 




his election, 163. His attack 
upon Pitt, 286. Returns to the 
House of Commons, 884. His 
great ability in the State Trials, 
ii. 67, 70. Inclines to Pitt, 235. 
Ridiculed in the Anti-Jacobin, 2 13. 
Opposes the Address, 343. Seeks 
office from Addington, iii. 40. 
Visits Paris, 55. Estranged from 
Fox, 171. Fox's account of him, 
178. Adheres to the Prince of 
Wales, 197. Awed by Pitt at 
Guildhall, 365. 

Euston, Earl of, the colleague of 
Pitt at Cambridge, i. 161. 

Ewart, Joseph, his negotiations at 
Berlin, i. 801. In correspondence 
with Pitt, 409. 

FARQUHAR, Sir Walter, Pitt's 
physician and friend, ii. 368. 
His letter from Ramsgate, iii. 60, 
With Pitt at Bath, 381. And at 
Putney, 387, 392. 

Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, his mis- 
sion to France, ii. 251. Joins the 
United Irishmen, 256. His arrest 
and death, 266. 

Fitzharris, Lord, his reminiscences 
of Pitt, iii. 315, 366. 

Fitzhkrbert, Mrs., sought by the 
Prince of Wales, i. 263, 265. Ap- 
pears at Hastings's trial, 282. 

Fitzherbert, Alleyne, his nego- 
tiations at Madrid, i. 363, 368. 
Created Lord St. Helen's, 386. 

Fitzwilliam, Earl, becomes Lord 
President, ii. 47. Designed as 
Lord Lieutenant, 77. Proceeds to 
Dublin, 86. His precipitate course, 
91. Returns to England, 97. His 
duel, 99. 

Flood, Henry, his political course, 
i. 206, 360. 

Foster, John, consulted by Pitt, i. 
209. Speaker of the Irish House 
of Commons, ii. 302. Opposes t he. 
Union, 310. Chancellor of the 
Exchequer for Ireland, iii. 358. 

Fox, Charles James, his tirst ac- 
quaintance with Pitt, i. 21. His 
course in Parliament, 39. His 
praises of Pitt's eloquence, 43, 
49, 52. Conduct as Secretary of 
State, 61. Resigns, 62. Confers 


with Pitt, 73. His coalition with 
Lord North, 75. His opinion of 
Money Bills, 87. His India Bill, 
108. "Dismissed from office, 121. 
His course in Parliament, 134, 
142, 157. Returned for Westmin- 
ster, 166. His great speech on 
the Scrutiny, 177. Parallel be- 
tween him and Pitt, 188. An op- 
ponent of Free Trade, 213, 218. 
An assailant of Warren Hastings, 
239. Opposes the Treaty of Com- 
merce with France, 256. Speaks 
in behalf of the Prince of Wales, 
265. Goes to Italy, 303. His 
course on the Regency Question, 
318, 322, 329, 335. Differs from 
Burke, 356. His compact for 
Westminster, 361. Opposes the 
Canada Bill, 390. Loses the 
friendship of Burke, 393. His 
speeches against the Russian ar- 
mament, 408, 430. Second in a 
duel, 444. Rejoices in the news 
from France, 453. Presses for 
peace, ii. 135. His imprudent ex- 
pressions, 142. His advice to the 
Government, 161. Predicts a 
national bankruptcy, 190. Se- 
cedes from Parliament, 208. Ce- 
lebration of his birthday, 246. 
Struck from the Privy Council, 
277. Reappears in Parliament, 
344. Hostile to the Irish Union, 
357. Fond of a country life, 413. 
His comments upon Addington's 
government, iii. 10. His speech 
at the Shakespeare, 31. visits 
Paris, 55. His views of the 
French policy, 126. His great 
speech on the renewal of the war, 
128. No friend to the Volunteer 
system, 177. Eager against Ad- 
dington, 198. His generous con- 
duct, 227. His interview with 
Pitt, 249. Ridicules the alarm of 
invasion, 259. Assails the Go- 
vernment, 293. Brings forward 
the Catholic question, 326. His 
views as to office, 355. His re- 
marks on Trafalgar, 362. His 
emotion at Pitt's illness, 396. Op- 
poses the Public Funeral, 399. 
But supports the payment of the 
debts, 402. 
Francis, Philip, his speeches in the 





House of Commons, i. 177. An 
assailant of Warren Hastings, 235. 
An opponent of Pitt, 257. Re- 
jected as manager, 280. His taunt 
against Burke, 372. Reflects upon 
Arlington's government, iii. 109. 

GEORGE III. offers the Premier- 
ship to Pitt, i. 82. Consults 
Lord Temple, 98, 116. His com- 
mission to the Peers, 117. Re- 
marks on his conduct, 123. Wel- 
comes Warren Hastings, 235. His 
life attempted, 242. His mental 
malady, 304, 309. Removed to 
Kew, 317. Progress of his conva- 
lescence, 326. His recover}' com- 
plete, 338, 340. His life at Wey- 
mouth, 348. Presses the Cinque 
Ports upon Pitt, 445. Visits the 
Fleet, ii. 46. Opposed to the 
Roman Catholic claims, 95. As- 
sailed by mob-violence, 134. His 
conscientious scruples, 391. Ac- 
cepts Pitt's resignation, 394. Re- 
newal of his mental malady, 407. 
His convalescence, 415. Much 
attached to Addington, iii. 3. 
Desires to pay Pitt's debts, 22. 
His displeasure, 121. Wholly 
estranged from Pitt, 137. Again 
afflicted in mind, 186. Applies to 
Pitt, 219. Puts a veto on Fox, 
226. Incoherent in his language, 
245. His dinner described, 2S'i. 
His decay of sight, 340. Resists 
the representations of Pitt, 355. 

George IV., as Prince of Wales, 
his separate establishment, i. 97. 
Wears Fox's colours, 164. At- 
tached to Mrs. Fitzherbert, 263, 
265. At Windsor Castle, 309. 
His course on the Regency ques- 
tion, 313, 333, 339. His marriage, 
ii. 104. Separates from his eon- 
sort, 145. Discusses a Bill of 
Regency, 409, 413. His fresh 
debts, iii. 102. His political views, 
200, 202. Reconciled to the King, 

Gibbon, E., his opinion of Pitt, i. 

Gii.lray, James, his caricatures, 
iii. 297, 338. 

Goostree's, the Club described, i. 41. 


Gower, Earl, named President of 
the Council, i. 124. Created Mar- 
quis of Stafford, 244. 

Gower, Earl (sou of the preceding), 
ambassador at Paris, i. 363. See 

Grafton, Duke of, his course in 
polities, i. 70, 73. Refuses office, 
130, 186. 

Grattan, Henry, his remark upon 
Flood, i. 207. Opposes the Irish 
Propositions, 217. Supports the 
claim of the Prince of Wales, 341. 
His intercourse with Pitt, ii. 78, 
82. Moves Roman Catholic 
Emancipation, 94, 254. A witness 
at the Maidstone trials, 273. 
Struck from the Irish Privy 
Council, 297. Opposes the Union, 
351. His first appearance in the 
British House of Commons, iii. 

Grenville, Thomas, elected for 
Bucks, i. 26. Accedes to the 
Government, ii. 47. Proposed as 
negotiator at Euneville, 366. 

Grenville, William W., after- 
wards Lord, his defence of his 
brother Temple, i. 125. Named 
Paymaster of the Forces, 131. At 
the Board of Trade, 243. Sug- 
gested as Irish Secretary, 245. 
Sent to Paris, 274. His unsuc- 
cessful speech, 287. Elected 
Speaker, 335. Named Secretary 
of State, 347. Raised to the Peer- 
age, 377. Transferred to the 
Foreign Office, 414. His charac- 
ter, 415. Offers to retire, 79. 
Differs from his colleagues, 217. 
His correspondence with Talley- 
rand, 342. His views upon the 
Corn Laws, 371. Opposes the 
Peace, iii. 31, 34. Desires Pitt's 
return, 76. Visits him at Wal- 
mer, 113. His letter to Lord 
Welleslcy, 148. Differs from Pitt, 
182. Communications between 
them, 211, 227, 239. Ridicules 
the military preparations, 259. 
His sympathy with Lord Mel- 
ville, 337. His tears at the loss 
of Pitt, 386, 397. Becomes First 
Lord of the Treasury, 398. 

Grey, Charles, his first appearance 
in the House of Commons, i. 258. 




His interview with the Prince of 
Wales, 265. Character of, by 
Burke, 283. Presses for peace, ii. 
89. Opposes the Irish Union, 357. 
Doubts our Maritime claims, 381. 
Refuses a Cabinet office, iii. 40. 
Heads a meeting of Fox's friends, 
228. His interview with Pitt, 

Grey, General Sir Charles, his suc- 
cess in the West Indies, ii. 62. 
Raised to the Peerage, iii. 39. 

Guilford, Earl of (see Lord 
North), opposes the Russian ar- 
mament, i. 408. His death, 445. 

GusTAvrsIII., his war with Russia, 
i. 400. Assassinated by Ankar- 
strom, 439. 

HADFIELD, James, his attempt 
on the King's life, ii. 350. 

Hardwicke, Earl of, his views as 
Lord Lieutenant, iii. 4. Resigns, 

Hardy, Thomas, his arrest, ii. 37. 
And trial, 66. 

Harris, Sir James, his account of 
the King of Prussia, i. 247. His 
negotiations in Holland, 270, 274. 
Created Lord Malmesbury, 301. 
See Malmesbury. 

Harrowby, Lord (see Ryder), be- 
comes Foreign Secretary, iii. 241. 
Consults Lord Malmesbury, 248. 
His views of Spanish affairs, 265. 
Retires from ill-health, 277. His 
letter from Bath, 303. Again in 
office, 340. His mission to Berlin, 

Hastings, Warren, his return from 
India, i. 235. Proceedings against 
him, 237, 259. Commencement 
of his trial, 281. Its progress, 
345, 384, 386 ; ii. 48. Its conclu- 
sion, 106. His death, 107. 

Hawkesbiry, Lord (see R. B. 
Jenkinson), named Secretary of 
State, iii. 3. Warmly praised by 
Pitt, 8. Summoned by writ to 
the House of Peers, 171. His last 
letter to Pitt, 382. 

Hayley, W., his acquaintance with 
Pitt, i. 4. 

Hoche, General, commands in Brit- 
tany, ii. 122, 125. Designs the 


invasion of Ireland, 159, 179. His 
death, 231. 

Holwood, purchase of, by Pitt, i. 221. 
His works and improvements, 255. 
New mortgage upon, ii. 178. Its 
sale, iii. 25. 

Hood, Lord, his defeat at Westmin- 
ster, i. 299. Commands off Cor- 
sica, ii. 42. 

Howe, Earl, his victory of the First 
of June, ii. 45. His letters from 
Bath, 195. Grants the petitions 
of the seamen, 201. 

Huskissox, W., visits Pitt at Wal- 
mer, iii. 110. Named Secretary of 
the Treasurv, 242. His letter to 
Bath. 376. 


MPEY,Sir Elijah, case of, i. 284. 

JEKYLL, J., his reminiscences of 
Pitt. i. 42, 46, 50. 

Jenkinson, Charles, the leader of 
the 'King's Friends,' i. 117. 
Created Lord Hawkesbury, 243. 
And Earl of Liverpool, ii. 17. 

Jenkinson, Robert Banks, his first 
speech, i. 431. His ' March to 
Paris,' ii. 17. See Hawkesbiry. 

Jervis, Sir John, his success in the 
West Indies, ii. 62. And at the 
battle of St. Vincent, 184. Created 
an Earl, 185. See St. Vincent. 

Jones, Paul, commands a Russian 
fleet, i. 400. His disgrace and 
death, 414. 

Jones, Tyrrwhitt, his course in the 
House of Commons, ii. 376. 

Joseph II., his character and mea- 
sures, i. 199. Declares war against 
Turkey, 399. His death, 404. 

Joyce, Rev. Jeremiah, his arrest, ii. 

KEXYON, Lord, his Chief Justice- 
ship and Peerage, i. 299. Dis- 
cusses the Coronation Oath, ii. 
384. His opinion of Thurlow. 
414. His death, iii. 43. 

T A FAYETTE. General, his unde- 
i~i cided course, i. 448. Arrested 

by the Prussian outposts, 450. 

Debate on his captivity, ii. 166. 




Lageard, Abbe" de, his reminis- 
cences of Pitt, i. 104. 

Lamb, Hon. William, retorts upon 
the Anti-Jacobin, ii. 245. 

Lansdowne, Marquis of (see Siii.l- 
btrne), inveighs against the Go- 
vernment, ii. 134. His financial 
predictions, 190. Character of his 
speeches, iii. 6. His death, 312. 

Lauderdale, Earl of, a warm 
friend of Fox, i. 438. His duel 
with Arnold, 444. Replies to 
Bishop Horsley, ii. 141. 

Law, Edward, his shining ability, 
i. 282. His excellent speeches, ii. 
106. Named Attorney-General, 
iii. 4. And Chief Justice, 43. 

Lee, John, his speech on the India 
Bill, i. 115. 

Leeds, Duke of (see Carmarthen), 
his conduct of the Foreign Office, 
i. 362. 

Lennox, Colonel, his duel with the 
Duke of York, i. 348. As Duke 
of Richmond the first President of 
the Pitt Club, ii. 90. 

Lichfield, Bishop of, his corre- 
spondence with Pitt, i. 420. 

Lincoln, Bishop of (see Prety- 
man). his charge against Fox, i. 
413. Reviews the administration, 
ii. 2. Reads Theology with Pitt, 
227. His views of the Roman 
Catholic question, 395, 416. Ex- 
amines Pitt's affairs, iii. 23. 1 1 is 
advice in politics, 37, 54. Desires 
the Archbishopric of Canterbury, 
275. Averse to Addingtmi, 281. 
Disappointed in his views, 291. 
At Putney, 387. Attends Pitt in 
his dying hours, 390, 392. 

Livingston, Mr., his overtures in 
England, iii. 248. 

Load Manage, a Cinque Port Court, 
iii. 102. 

Long, Charles, named Secretar}* of 
the Treasury, i. 416. Resigns, ii. 
404. Negotiates between Pitt and 
Addington, iii. 112. Confers with 
Pitt in London, 165. Goes as 
Secretary to Ireland, 358. 

Lonsdale, Earl of (sec Lowther), 
against Pitt on the Regency ques- 
fcion, i. 328. 

Eoi GHHoisoi.-Gii, Lord, consulted by 
the Prince of Wales, i. 311. Hi's 


scheme of a Coup dTEtat, 318. 
Desires to join Pitt, 444. Receives 
the Great Seal, 464. His severity 
in office, ii. 22. Blames Lord 
Fitzwilliam, 92. Intrigues against 
Pitt, 384, 389. Dismissed from 
office, 405. Reverts to Fox, 413. 
Raised to an Earldom, iii. 5. See 

Louis XVI. declares war against 
the King of Hungary, i. 440. Tu- 
mult against him, 447. Impri- 
soned in the Temple, 449. His 
trial and execution, 464. 

Lowther, Sir James, offers Pitt a 
seat in Parliament, i. 36. Created 
Earl of Lonsdale, 168. See Lons- 

Loyalists, American, case of the, i. 

MACAULAY, Lord, his criticism 
on Laurentius, i. 4. Inquires 
why Lord Temple resigned, 128. 
Reviews Pitt's whole administra- 
tion, ii. 2. Discusses Pitt's views 
on Reform, 357. His opinion of 
Canning, 424. Justifies the re- 
newal of the war, iii. 126. 

Mackintosh, James, his Vindiciw 
Galliae, i. 373. 

Mahon, Charles Lord, marries 
Pitt's eldest sister, i. 11. Attends 
Lord Chatham to the House of 
Lords, 17. His Essay on Electri- 
citj", 22. His speech at Ayles- 
bury, 32. His second marriage, 
33. His bill to prevent bribery at 
Elections, 60. At a meeting in 
Downing Street, 131. Denounces 
( ieorge Rose, 175. Succeeds as 
Earl Stanhope, 232. His Bill to 
improve county Elections, 234. 
See Stanhope. 

Mahon, Philip Henry, Lord, after- 
wards fourth Earl Stanhope, his 
reminiscences of Pitt, i. 7, 14, 
198. A visitor at Walmer Castle, 
iii. 101, 125. His notes of Pitt's 
conversation, 158. Marries a 
daughter of Lord Carrington, 
170. His further notes, 377. 
Pitt's last letter to him, 381. 

Malmesbdry, Lord (see II arris), 
his mission to Brunswick, ii. 104. 




And to Paris, 173. Negotiates at 
Lille, 219. Returns to London, 
223. Made an Earl, 370. With 
Pitt at Bath, 69, 74, 84. His 
reminiscences, 360. 

Maroons, war with the, ii. 117, 145. 

Marsham, Charles, his efforts for 
an union of parties, i. 148. 

Martello towers, derivation of the 
name, iii. 259. 

Mavnooth, College of, founded, ii. 

Melville, Viscount (see Dun-das), 
his mission to Walmer Castle, iii. 
109. In correspondence with 
Pitt, 202, 206, 210. At the head 
of the Admiralty, 304. Charges 
against him, 306. Resigns his 
employments, 284. His letter to 
Pitt, 322. Impeached by the 
House of Commons, 336. Visits 
Pitt at Bath, 369. Last letter to 
him from Pitt, 379. 

Michelet, M., his charge against 
Pitt repelled, iii. 410. 

Middleton, Sir Charles, an early 
opponent of the Slave Trade, i. 
291. Named First Lord of the 
Admiralty, iii. 287. Created a 
Peer, 320. See Barham.